For The Birds!


Greetings & Salam to you all lads

Inshallah you are all keeping well lads, the health is good and the chickens are laying. There is  surely nothing in life as good a fresh egg. Right on MB, yo!

Have covered many many miles since we last conversed. No joking lads. Think was about to board a plane as I pressed ‘Send’ last week to give you the literary & pictorial goodies, which no doubt amazed and titillated you for few days. I now prepare the next offering from my sunny Dubai deck chair oasis by the pool as I sip yet another long G&T, easy on the ice.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai. Worlds tallest building, circa 850M high

Burj K

Yes lads, on Thursday early morning last I jumped on plane in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, instructed the captain to take me to Dubai, where I landed 2 hours later. Got hire car and made my way back to Dubai apartment/swimming pool/servants. Went on Facebook for few hours, as you do, then headed to Oman border crossing, as family needed to extend their ’30 day limit’ UAE visitor visas.

Acacia tree (I think) on the road to Oman. Photo by MB2.

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The Sultanate of Oman allows you to get your Passport stamped at the border station without entering further into the country and to immediately turn around to return to UAE/Dubai. Then the UAE border post 2 or 3Km down the road stamps your Passport with new re-entry date, and you are then legal again for another 30 days. We refer to it out these parts as ‘the Oman run’ which you invariably end up doing when you are between jobs, or your employers are slow to sort out your paperwork when you commence employment.

Did you know lads that the wife of a Sultan is known as a ‘Sultana’? True lads. MB continues to spread the knowledge & the wisdom!

Having got the Passports all stamped with the new fresh ink lads, I then took family to Fujairah, one of the 7 Emirates of the UAE, and the only one I had not visited previously. Little Russia as it turned out – full of short fat balding criminal type Ruskie men, with blond super model Goddess type girlfriends / wives / mistresses. Seemingly, with so much trouble in Egypt in last year or so, the Ruskies are avoiding their favourite Sharm Al Sheikh Egyptian resort and heading instead to the 5 Star resorts of the UAE. Stayed overnight and headed back to Dubai, alas without meeting any of the Russian girls, who would no doubt have enjoyed MBs intellectual company.

UAE flag painted on the mountain slope. Maybe by ‘Banksy’. On the approach road into the Emirate of Fujairah. Photo by MB2.

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Shattered from the record breaking traveling. Wrecked. Headache for 2 days before eventual recovery. Marco Polo & Ibn Batuta together never covered as much ground in 24 hours lads. Have now contacted the Guinness Book of Records to advise them of my feat (& my sore feet – joke lads!) to see in what category I can claim world record. Am sure there will be more that one category lads. So presently checking the email on hourly basis but nothing yet. The lads at Guinness must be short staffed, or drunk! Haha lads, another joke!

Ok lads, the pics,  this week, in which birds feature a lot, are the usual awesome pics taken by MB as he casually walks round the Middle East listening to young lads shouting at him – “Sir, sir, please photo sir, need for Facebook, family want to show photo back home in Delhi /Sanaa/Karachi to family of future bride, Inshallah they will like me Sir. Sir, take very pretty photo sir”.

I normally reply along the following lines lads – “No sweat young lad, the Canon Master has landed & you are in safe hands. I will take 3 or 4 shots for you to make selection. I give you 100% guarantee that the ladies family will beg that you will take the young lassie off their hands, and will give even bigger dowry as result of the awesome photo”.

Rotana Hotel 5 Star resort – Fujeirah. Ruskie heaven.

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Needless to say lads this is normally the end result. And you just wouldn’t believe the amount of Hindi/Buddist/Muslim/Yahudi/Other wedding invitations I have turned down in recent years. If I were to attend them all I wouldn’t have a shekel/halalla left for my own kith & kin. You have to draw a line lads. That’s life. Anyway, they normally get over my rejection  within a few months and crack on with life, settle down, make a few babies and generally live happily ever after. And all thanks to MB lads. Masha’allah! (Praise the Lord).

A few of the pics are also from the Fujairah area from MB’s trip. Must acknowledge guest photo shooter this week lads – 12 year old MB (MB2) who took 1 or 2 of the shots. A star is born!

MB is Chess Grand Master lads. Very highly ranked.

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MB is not converting 

Have to make this announcement lads, as has come to my attention that a number of Crosser members are speculating that MB is thinking of jumping ship. To the other side. Seemingly my weekly updating of what my Muslim brothers get up to has lead some to come up with 1+1=3. Not correct lads. No way.

This news will obviously disappoint many of my Saudi Muslim brothers lads, but like the disappointed Indians/Yemenis/Pakastanis whose weddings I do not attend, they too will get over it eventually, crack on with life, and start milking the camels again.

And MB will just continue to do as MB has always done lads. And you will all continue to reap the benefits. Masha’allah!

Mountains, beach & the waters of the Gulf Of Oman at Fujairah, UAE. Never saw that Russian girl until I looked at the pic on the laptop later lads, I swear!

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The Dalai Lama

Have always been fascinated by the DL lads. Spoke to one or two people back home who attended one of his appearances/talks when he visited Ireland a few short years ago, maybe 2 or 3 years back. They confirmed that he has incredible presence and tangible spirituality.

Think Pope John Paul was similar in that regard. Even on TV you could get that feeling that he was a special human being with a huge spiritual presence. Met a Polish lady once who met JP when he was still a Bishop in Krakow (I think) and she told me she was so overwhelmed she cried uncontrollably. He just had a magic. Or maybe she had watched episode of ‘Friends’ before the meeting lads. Who knows!

Does anyone know any Muslim leaders or clerics with such aura? I have never seen. Muslim friends of MB – please advise.

Hungry bird on the beach

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Anyway lads, saw this DL piece on Fb during the week. Think Crosser MR had posted it up. Typical of the DL, stops you in your tracks and makes you think:

At the end of the talk someone from the audience asked the Dalai Lama, “Why didn’t you fight back against the Chinese?”

The Dalai Lama looked down, swung his feet just a bit, then looked back up at us and said with a gentle smile, “Well, war is obsolete, you know “

Then, after a few moments, his face grave, he said, “Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back…but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you.”

Jumairah beach, Dubai. Locals frolic in the Arabian Sea.

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Meanwhile In Saudi Arabia

The head-rolling festival continues in full swing in Saudi lads. 2013 Head Nr 16 has been removed from Neck Nr 16 in last week, to keep the Kingdom safe and enable us to sleep easy at night. It was Jordanian drug dealer this time who fought the law. But as the old song says lads – ‘the law won’ – resulting in Jordanian’s head rolling in the sand looking up at his torso.

Young lad lifts his leg as he enters the water

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I feel its time for some poetry lads:

IF
you can keep your head when all about you 

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.

Gull swoops over MBs head. MB captures the moment.

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From this week’s Gulf News:

Jordanian beheaded for drug trafficking

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Sunday beheaded a Jordanian man convicted of drug trafficking, the interior ministry said.

Faris Salam Salama Al Maghrebi was arrested while attempting to “smuggle a large amount of amphetamine” stimulant capsules into the kingdom, the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

He was beheaded in the northern Jawf province, it said.

His execution brings to 16 the number of people beheaded in Saudi Arabia so far this year.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/jordanian-beheaded-for-drug-trafficking-1.1150802

Philosophical gulls look out to sea and ponder life’s good and bad. 

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Lady Driver

Was told a number of times in Saudi that in the more remote areas the women can drive cars without any risk of being jailed. Had not come across it previously but the below story is case in point. If you read the full piece the locals were happy that she was driving, and presumably continues to do so:

Gull says hello to MB, as the evening sunlight catches his wings

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Mom and her 2 chicks, who hide their heads under her sari.

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Manama: A Saudi woman said that she had to disguise herself as a man to be able to drive a bus and help her needy family.

Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, even though there is no legal text to support the ban.

However, Saliha who lived with her parents and four sisters in a remote area in the south west of the Saudi kingdom, said that she volunteered to take up the job to assist her old father.

“I live with my parents and four sisters and our conditions are very difficult,” Saliha said. “One day, my father thought about launching a bus service to drive female students in our area to their schools. He discussed the idea with the village men and they all agreed since they trusted my father and they were confident that he would be keen on protecting them. They also thought that driving the bus would be an opportunity for him to make some money,” she told local Arabic daily Al Sharq.

However, Saliha thought that she could help her father and do the job instead.

“I looked at his poor health condition and advanced age and I requested him to allow me to replace him, especially that I was a good driver. My father in fact taught me how to drive since I was young. It took some time before he was convinced that I could drive the bus instead of him,” she said.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/saudi-woman-disguises-as-man-to-drive-bus-1.1150721

Gull swoops low over the sand. MB is like speedy Gonzalez with the Canon 7D, and clicks just in time.

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So long lads.

That’s it for another week. As the young lads around HX are fond of saying – be talkin tcha!

Jumairah beach, Dubai, again. This ladies head scarf tells me she is not local. Maybe some Muslim Crosser can take guess as to her nationality?


Man looks at Gulls and thinks….. what if I was born a bird? Birds look at man and think……. WTF!

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Take care y’all.
MB

Random Places


Greetings lads,

Hope all in good form. MB will be taking break from his Saudi paradise for the next week in good old Dubai, UAE. So looking forward.

Had suggestion for this week’s blog to do something on Chinese New Year lads, which is year of the snake. Did not have clue about the significance of the snake but looked it up this evening and discovered the strengths & weaknesses of people born in the ‘snake’ years.


Birds Nest Olympic Stadium, Beijing

Strengths
They often have a good temper and a skill at communicating but say little. They possess gracious morality and great wisdom. They are usually financially secure and do not have to worry about money. They have tremendous sympathy for others and would like to take actions to help ther fellow human beings. They are determined to accomplished their goals hate to fail. Although they look calm on the surface, they are intense and passionate. They have a rich source of inspiration and understand themselves well. They are people of great perception. Women under the sign of the snake do well in housework but are irritable.

Weaknesses
They are likely to be jealous and suspicious. They should be cautious about what they discuss with others, as it might cause them to lose friendship and opportunities. They tend to overdo things. They prefer to rely on themselves and have doubts about other people’s judgment. They are courteous  with polite manners, but they can be headstrong. They are fickle and usually have problems in relationships or marriage problems. 


So lads, it appears you can have great wisdom and at same time be jealous and suspicious. Bit confused by the Snake people must admit.

And the below are the most recent Snake years in question lads:

23/01/1917 – 10/02/1918

10/02/1029 – 29/01/1930

27/01/1941 – 14/02/1942

14/02/1953 – 02/02/1954

02/02/1965 – 20/01/1966

18/02/1977 – 06/02/1978

06/02/1990 – 26/01/1990

24/01/2001 – 11/02/2002


Just to confirm lads – MB is not a snake.
Great Wall, this location is approx 1 hour by car from Beijing, take cable care to reach the wall. Note cable car bottom left of pic.

This weeks pics lads are from random places. And I love random places! In honour of the Snake Year lads I give you a few pics I took when was in China about 3 years back. Ya, China lads – MB gets around. Did not have decent camera back then but the attached are decent enough. Plus a few shots of jewelry & other stuff from Global Village Market, one of my favourite places in Dubai. And other random places that I can’t remember at the mo.

You need fit body like MB to climb the wall lads

Valentines Day – by The Oatmeal
Should have included this last week of course lads. But did not see it in time. Gave you another from The Oatmeal few weeks back lads and had a giggle at this one during the week when I read:


Dubai Skyline, shot from hotel rooftop at Festival City area, near Dubai airport

Pagan Weddings in Ireland
Irish Government will recognise Pagan Wedding ceremonies lads, f any of you are thinking of same. Celtic Paganism is older than Christianity lads far as I am aware. Maybe someone can throw some light on this for me

Non-religious and Pagan weddings are to finally become law in Ireland under proposed new legislation.

The Irish government is expected to back legislation giving humanists the same status as organised religions and civil registrars in conducting marriage ceremonies.

http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Irish-government-to-give-full-legal-status-to-Pagan-weddings-149628925.html#ixzz2LT4rfxc4

One you won’t see in Ireland!

Sheikh Mo (the  living legend!)
The actor Johnny Depp paid surprise visit to a school some time back lads dressed in his pirate outfit. But Sheikh Mo went one better lads. He visited a Dubai school last week dressed as – Sheikh Mo. Hard to beat that lads you will agree. Came about due to request by young schoolgirl. It seems lads that when any lady clicks her finger even male Royal Rulers will jump!
Dubai: Little Mira could not believe her eyes when “Baba Mohammad” walked into her classroom during the first class of her school day. Mira Ali Murad is a nine-year-old third grade student at the evening school shift of Al Ahliya Charity School in Garhoud, Dubai.

“When he came in he asked me who he was and I said ‘Shaikh Mohammad’. He said ‘bravo’ and shook my hand and left,” she said.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, surprised Mira when he granted her wish by visiting her in her school on Sunday. Mira had asked Shaikh Mohammad, in a video message, when he would visit her school.

Prayer after work, as the lads face Mecca & the local cafe. Two Pakastanis walk past.
The Boss (do not scroll past!)
After posted last weeks song by The Boss lads I had a listen to some of his stuff. Must admit was never really a fan. But a concert called the Seeger Sessions is different from what you might expect. Some fantastic music and incredible musicians. Recommend you switch to ‘full screen’ for this one, some great angles and camera work, if that kind of stuff turns you on. Bruce sings an Irish folk song here, and I give you some  info on the song in the 2nd link below:
Ice cream after work while the bus waits for the lads to arrive for the journey home

Dragon Mart – Dubai

There is very large retail centre in Dubai called Dragon Mart, and as the name suggests it has 100% Chinese products. Really cheap stuff, from the proverbial needle to the proverbial anchor. They seem to have imported few new products since MBs last visit:

Soaps to ‘restore’ virginity at Dragon Mart
Dubai Now you can get curves like Jennifer Lopez for less than Dh60, or so certain products sold at Dragon Mart would have you believe.

From a Dh25 virginity soap that promises to tighten muscles, to a Dh60 gel that claims to push your ‘hip up’, dozens of dubious products are selling like hotcakes at various outlets in Dragon Mart.

“Our virginity soap has honey extracts and is very effective,” said a salesperson suggesting it be used at least twice a day to get its benefits in about two weeks.

Firmer buttocks, he claimed, could take a bit longer, as one needs to apply the gel for about a month. None of these products conforms to health stipulations.

But retailers swear by them. Ask them if the products have any side effects and the standard response is: “No. It’s all herbal.”

http://gulfnews.com/about-gulf-news/al-nisr-portfolio/xpress/soaps-to-restore-virginity-at-dragon-mart-1.1148980

Honey trader, Global Village, Dubai

Anyone for colour?

Pendants, all natural stones, no chinese plastic fakes. 


Saudi Marriage

Like our pre-marriage courses in the West lads some Saudi cleric has come up with similar idea. Assume he had look at the Irish model:

Manama: A leading Saudi religious figure has called for holding compulsory special workshops on matrimony for all young men and women about to get married.

“The justice ministry should ensure that the marriage contract is not endorsed by a court of law unless the two spouses prove that they have gone through the mandatory workshop,” Saeed Al Qah’tani said.

The scholar attributed his call to the high rise in divorce rates in the Saudi kingdom.

“The rate has exceeded 50 per cent in some regions in the country and this is alarming,” he said. “This clearly indicates that there is a serious and grave issue about understanding and appreciating the responsibilities of spouses towards each other,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Okaz on Sunday.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/saudi-scholar-calls-for-mandatory-marriage-workshop-1.1147325

Typical Yemeni style necklaces


Ring & henna


Gotta go lads

Sorry bit rushed this week lads. Not one of the better efforts I’m afraid. Just under bit of time pressure. Have nice weekend lads. Be careful out there.

MB

Pearls

Happy Valentines!


Greetings ladies

It’s Valentine’s Day ladies and am only thinking of my female Crossers of course. So big Middle East greetings and affection to you all, where ever you are sunning yourselves.

Am sure your man gave you the traditional flowers or chocolate, but MB is far more adventurous than that ladies and now has much Arabic influence on his brain to expand the possibilities. So ladies – just for you – I give you the following – as special gifts for the day that’s in it:


Spice powder castle

SpiceMar


Forget the blue tablets ladies. We have natural solution for you man’s problem. But its a honey mixture only for the ‘married’. Any ‘singles’ caught in possession are immediately jailed, as we know what they are up to – totally and utterly haram.

HoneyMar

This weeks photos have no consistent theme ladies, and are a mish/mash of few shots I took in last week or two. Am revisiting some places that I showed you previously, plus a few new locations.

Clouds over North Riyadh construction site. I have noticed that Muslim clouds and Christian clouds are the exact same.

Afghan Clouds


We Saudis are sadly starting to turn away from the traditional arranged marriages ladies, where some local Biddy will receive contact from family elders seeking partner for some lad or lass that has come of age and needs to be married off. She will take fat fee, and guarantee everlasting love and happiness, resulting from the suitable partner she will unearth from under some desert rock or where ever.
But no lads, that is not good enough for some of us any more. We are turning to on-line match makers, where we can take a look at some pics and actually see what we are marrying. Fast disappearing is the thrill of your first night of marriage with a partner that you maybe have never seen previously, or seen briefly only once or twice. This can not be progress lads. I fear we are losing our way. Absolutely no good can come of it. Um Sami is also none pleased!

The cooking pot at the Afghani cafe where MB has been eating the mutton stew & arabic bread of late. Masha’allah! The chef tends to put in lots of raw sugar with many (all) of his mixtures. MB told him to cop himself on with the sugar, and just trust the food to speak for itself. Think he really appreciated the astute culinary advise of Irish Michelin 3 Star chef MB.

Afghan Pot


Riyadh: In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where the sexes are strictly segregated, traditional matchmakers face tough competition from blossoming marriage services on online social networks.

More than 200 Twitter users and dozens of other forums on the internet offer services for Saudi men and women seeking spouses, angering matchmakers like Um Sami who sees it as “organised prostitution.”

“Social networks undermine our work and everything they offer is virtual: they use nicknames and they are not reliable,” said Um Sami, an elderly woman and well-established matchmaker from the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

For her, many of these websites are “fraudulent” and some are even an organised form of prostitution.

“Marriage via online platforms is one hundred per cent doomed to failure,” she said, stressing that only her traditional matchmaking method can lead to a successful marriage.

For matchmakers like Um Sami the business has flourished by word of mouth…………..

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/online-matchmaking-a-hit-with-saudi-couples-1.1146326
And did you know ladies that St Valentine himself is buried in Dublin? If you are struggling to find that amusing rugged handsome stinking rich type ladies, you only need to run down to Whitefriar St, touch the coffin or alter with your hand, and within 24 hours, hey presto, your new man will appear. Unlike the on-line matches mentioned above ladies, this is 100% certain to produce the results. Best of luck!—

Sunset up the street from the Afghan cafe.

Afghan sunset

 
St Valentine
 
Was St Valentine a true blue Dub?

JUST about everybody knows that St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. You may have known that he was a priest in Rome in the third century, and if you’re really on top of your game, you may even have been aware that he died in jail, but you probably didn’t know that his final resting place is Dublin. 

In fact the good priests of the Carmelite Order have been looking after his remains in their priory in Whitefriar St, just off Aungier St in Dublin, for over 160 years.

We have a good deal of information about St Valentine, but separating the fact from the legend is a bit like trying to separate a teenage couple at a school disco.

Fertility festival
It seems he was martyred in 269, supposedly for marrying couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II who felt that single men made better soldiers. Legend would have it that he died for his faith on February 14th of that year, and that this is why we celebrate him on that day. However, it’s likely that the fact that we celebrate St Valentine at this time of year is more to do with the ancient Roman spring fertility festival of Lupercalia, which like many other pagan holidays was christianised when in 498 Pope Gelasius decreed that February 14th would be St Valentine’s Day.

But how did a Roman Martyr, who had never even set foot in what was later to become an island of saints and scholars, end up in a Dublin church.

In the 1820′ and 30’s, a Carmelite priest by the name of John Spratt had earned a reputation for his work with the destitute citizens of Dublin’s Liberties. A man of apparently boundless energy, Spratt started the building process of the Carmelite church in nearby Whitefriar St in 1825.

Exhumed
Ten years later, he was invited to speak at the Jesuit Church in Rome, the Gesu. The elite of Rome came to hear him, including representatives of Pope Gregory XVI. As a token of recognition of the work of Spratt, the Pope ordered the exhumation of the remains of St Valentine from St Hippolytus cemetery near Rome to be shipped to Whitefriar St Church, in Dublin.

In November 1836, the remains were received with great pomp and ceremony, but with the death of Spratt some years later, the remains ceased to be of major public interest.
 
Some 40 years ago however, they were restored to the public eye having gathered dust for decades in the nether regions of the priory, and are now featured in a purpose-built shrine in the church itself.

This year on February 14th, at 11am and 3.15pm, as has become customary, there will be a special celebration of St Valentine in the place where he now rests, Whitefriar St Church. Carmelite priest, Fr Tony McKenny will celebrate mass and conduct a ring blessing ceremony for engaged and married couples.

It would appear that neither cohabiting couples nor teenagers need apply!


Took shot of this guy at the golf last weekend lads. He did not appear to have much interest in the goings on.

Bird
Music
Spotted this on Fb during the week lads when one of my pals posted up. Good happy clappy one to put a smile on your faces:

Everyone who attended the golf last weekend got free 4×4 Mercedes. Just for showing up to give our support. Long live Sheikh Mo.
Mercedes

Dubai

Another tourism project given the green light by Sheikh Mo during the week lads. Should be a good one. Will be located in Dubai Marina. We are good to go:
“I love the smell of traffic fumes in the morning” – from the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. North Riyadh street. Right next to the Imam University – a production line for Saudi Imams.

Pylons & traffic

Dubai Parking

And with 3M+ visitors expected at the above venture lads our cars will need the latest in parking technology. Just let the robot take care of it for you lads.
“There is nothing as majestic as a pylon” – MB

Pylon

Ballyneety GC

Want to wish all involved the best of luck in their attempts to revive local Golf Club at home. Was great social and sporting outlet before it closed few years ago.
Arab lad gets an oil change, car out of pic.

Car oil change
DH – The Reluctant Emigrant
Thanks to DH for trying to sort out all the red tape lads. Read on:
Regardless of where you are living lads, you will always need the puncture repair facility. 

Car Puncture
And the puncture repair lad. God bless him.

Car tyre man
The Alter Tomb

Want to mention writer and Guinness drinker MQ from the HX heartland back in Ireland lads, who published mini novel at tail end of last year. It’s fictional account of a tomb he discovered in a local graveyard dating from 1618. The story also features a character we featured in this blog long time back – one John Murphy who is buried in grave in same place, also discovered by MQ, and has inscription on his gravestone that he was 219 years old when he died (I gave you all pic of this headstone previously lads).The novel, and that piece of the story in particular, got front page publicity in the local LL newspaper at home recently, about one year after the HX report on same!

MQ

MQ
The Alter Tomb from 1618

Alter Tomb
 

English words from Arabic
I am dedicating this piece to Crosser JMc lads who is a wordsmith in her own right. Is on a sabbatical at present from her writing career with the HX. Inshallah she comes back soon.You will be surprised to learn so many English words have Arabic origin lads, if you give a damn in the first place. You really are full of BS this week MB‘, I can hear many of you shouting lads. But sometimes lads we just don’t know what is good for us, and it takes gurus like MB to point it out.
Thanks to Crosser MC for sending pic of his gaff in Sweden to MB. Free accommodation is available for all Crossers at MCs house – all year round lads, but limited to 30 day max stay, when MC & his missus will vacate the master bedroom to allow Crossers to feel very much at home in Sweden. Big thanks MC.

Mossy hse
Oman
Nothing like an Arab Spring to get the rulers to loosen the purse strings lads. The Omani people will now reap the rewards:
But in the end lads we are all heading to the same place. The Graveyard at Grange Church, HX. Pic from my trip home at Christmas. 

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Adios ladies (& Happy Val)
That’s it for another week. Regards to all. Enjoy your weekend.

MB

Swingers


Salam to all lads.

We are blessed with favourable weather in the Middle East at present, albeit still a tad cool to be jumping into the swimming pool – before noon at least! But even in our short sleeve shirts the gentle breeze in the winter sunshine is refreshingly welcome. Inshallah we will have another 3 months or so of same before the temps start to get to the uncomfortable levels again.


Beer sellers enjoy MBs joke!

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Europe’s best golfers were swinging their clubs in Dubai last weekend at the Emirates GC lads, across the road from Dubai Marina. MB managed to get down for few hours on Sunday to mix with the great and the good, and most of this week’s photos are from same. Big thanks to Crosser PMc for getting the entry tickets (with Clubhouse Pass) for MB. May your own clubs provide you with a bounty of birdies in the years to come Mr P – a sort of a Golfer’s prayer lads in thanks.

Practice makes perfect
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—–


Silence is Golden

Was having a chat with a friend at work today lads when his phone rang. He immediately launched into a frenzied conversation in Arabic which went on for some time, with much hand movement as is the practice out here. Upon completion of the conversation he clicked the ‘End’ button, and a little red faced from the stressful call he had taken, he turned to MB and said:

“Arabs, why do they have to talk so much? That guy called me to make a very small point, but of course he felt the need to give me his entire life history at the same time. There is a reason Mr Mike that God gave us all 2 ears and only 1 mouth – he wants us to listen more and talk less”

Now I must explain lads that my colleague & friend is 100% Arab himself, born & bred, so his comments were not what you might sometimes hear from some donkey expat with zero brain cells. No lads, this was coming from the horses mouth, and he was also making the profound point about listening more than talking. I assured him it is the Irish way. He smiled,  happy in new knowledge that there is one place on the planet that is oasis of listening. If only he knew the truth!

This couple caught my eye lads (hehe!) Dubai is a fashion & style fest all year round. There are really no restrictions on how you dress as long as its reasonably modest and does not give offence, bearing in mind local sensibilities, religion and customs. The neighbouring Emirate of Sharjah passed a rule in recent weeks preventing tight clothes that emphasis body shape or reveal too much flesh. Presumable this young lady has Dubai address
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Balls!
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—–


Dubai News – Sheikh Mo

Sheikh Mo has done it yet again lads, God bless every royal & regal inch of him.

It doesn’t get any more Regal than this lads
Sheikh Mo

The Palm Jumeirah Island is one of the most exclusive residential addresses on the Planet lads, but is short of a decent shopping mall. The world renowned Mall Of The Emirates (with real ski slope) is 15 mins away, but you really don’t want to be wasting your time shopping with poor people.

So what does Sheikh Mo go and do lads? Yes lads, he simply issues royal instruction to the Palm developers (Nakheel) to crack on immediately with a new mega mall plus hotels plus other stuff, and have it ready by 2016 for a bit of shopping for the locals. When complete lads they will be able to cut 12 mins off their shopping trip as they make the 3 minute trip down to the new local. Masha’allah!

That is how it’s done lads, Dubai style, Sheikh Mo style. Let it be a lesson to you all lads. Long live our hero Sheikh Mo!

http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/nakheel-mall-on-palm-jumeirah-set-to-open-in-2016-2013-02-07-1.494218

Quote from Sheikh Mo earlier this week (tear in my eye as I read):

“Before evaluating the future, we have to take a quick look at the past, for it is the foundation of tomorrow”His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The golf  shopping area with Marina in background
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A wayward golf ball lands next to MBs feet
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Comics

My blog received a follower a few weeks back lads and I noticed that the guy in question was also a follower of another blogger called ‘The Oatmeal’. The name intrigued me so I looked up The Oatmeal. What a laugh. Brilliant intelligent comics of the ‘laugh out loud’ variety. To MB’s sense of humour at least. Giving you one of his comics this week called:

‘When your house is burning down you should wash your teeth’
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/house

Hats off to The Oatmeal.


Golfer follows the trajectory of his ball & hopes for the best

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Bird in the 5 Star Emirates GC Clubhouse – a bird with taste

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Swinger Nr 1

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UAE Visa Amnesty

Mentioned the UAE visa amnesty last week lads. Is throwing up some hardship cases for the authorities to deal with. Friend of mine did a deal with the authorities in recent weeks. Got a reduced penalty, which was still a substantial sum, and paid it off. Now he is free to exit and enter the UAE as he pleases. He visited him family in England last week for first time in twelve months.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/amnesty-presents-hard-choice-for-mother-of-five-1.1141486?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26270919


Fans follow the ball flight

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Crossing the fairway

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Saudi Women

The Saudi Arabian Labour Ministry will now allow the Saudi women to work in Pharmacies lads. They will issue some rules shortly and the ladies are good to go. Allah u akbar.

Media City in background as golfer & caddy walk towards the green
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Fans

IMG_4922Mar

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Training & Weight Loss

Giving you all 5 unusual tips to aid your fitness & weight loss training ladies. All with scientific basis, but you will not have heard previously!

http://gulfnews.com/life-style/five-strange-fitness-tips-that-work-1.1142524

Rest area out on the course

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Towers
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Wearing the Burqa

One Saudi Imam got himself in bit of trouble this week lads. Most considered his call for very young girls to wear the Abiya/Burqa as extreme and bringing bad publicity on Islam religion.
Official shooter puts MB camera in the shade!

Firm wrists, swing it like a pendulum!
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Scoreboard
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The End
That’s it for this week lads. Enjoy the weekend. Wrap up tightly if you are in Europe. Get out the shades if you are in the Middle East! Take care lads.

You will only see umbrellas in Middle East used as protection from the sun. the ladies like to keep the skin wrinkle free
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Dubai Marina towers provide spectacular background to the golf

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I prefer it in B&W!

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Swinger Nr 2
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MB
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Tea Time


Greetings lads. M’sa al khair. Inshallah you are all in fine fettle.
MB is on short trip to Dubai as family just landed out here for 2 month break and just not possible to bring them to Saudi for various ‘cultural’ reasons. The Golf (Dubai Desert Classic) on in Dubai this weekend so maybe get there on Sat or Sun before my return to Saudi. Incidentally lads, am invited for ‘out in the desert’ trip on my return to the Kingdom and will hopefully get some good photos for you all. Hope to do that next weekend.
This week’s pics lads are mostly from a small roadside restaurant/cafe that I happened across last weekend when was in need of a cup of tea.
Pressure of time this weekend lads will result in shorter HX than normal I think. Lets see how it goes.
MB sips Chi in the Afghan cafe and watches lad walking down the dusty street 
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DH – The Reluctant Emigrant

Giving pride of place this weekend lads to fellow blogger, writer (presently some way through her first book) and general raconteur DH. Met DH today for coffee in Ibn Batuta Mall in Dubai.

Was expecting some kind words for the HX blog lads, but some 10 seconds into the conversation DH informs MB – “You are not using your blog in correct way MB, I will give you 2 hour instruction session in due course and show you how its done“. And like all men everywhere lads, I just took the beating, nodded my submissive head a few times thanked DH for the constructive criticism, for her benevolence and kind heart.

So lads, expect some amazing things in next few weeks when DH puts MB on the righteous path. Allah u akbar!

This weeks blog from DH. As usual DH, sukran gizan. May your blog always have traffic. Inshallah.
And as special treat for you all lads I give you pic (with her kind permission) of Irish/Abu Dhabi blogger DH, as shot today at Dubai’s Ibn Batuta Mall:
DH, at Ibn Batuta Mall earlier today
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MR – Childhood
Thanks to my friend MR for allowing me to use the following piece which she posted on Facebook after the recent school shooting in Connecticut, USA. She generally writes on topics more close to her heart, and rarely on other stuff. I am encouraging her to get more ‘logical’ (private joke between us!) and I like the following:
I was reminded yesterday of my childhood by my friend Tony Jay. Thanks Tony. As a child my play time was all the time. I was lucky enough to have been raised on a farm where my friends were the cows, the foxes, the birds. My playground were the trees, the fields and the rivers.
School was my challenge as it curbed my freedom. I realised as an adult the education I received outside of school was to be the basis of how I perceive life today but I am grateful for my formal education in being to able to read and write so that I may communicate and read so many wonderful books and my education was my choice eventually as it was only till I was older that I realised which field I wanted to work in and so having said this I now refer to what has happened in America at the School in Connecticut.
I watched Sky News last night regarding this tragic event. A reporter stating how 5 year old children are drilled about what to do if their is an attack on their school. WOW……is all I said to myself. To think that a 5 year old is at this tender beautiful age is subjected to the world they face, a world where you must own a gun to protect yourself from those who also own a gun. The quote ” Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword” came to mind. I feel as deeply as everyone at the heartache of this situation but is it not a result of the mentality that the world has become.
I worked last year in a care home for Dementia and one lady who had been a school teacher said to me as we were having a trip down memory lane that the children of today are being educated by violent computor games and being subjected to all types of violence in the media..it is everywhere and I absolutely agreed with her. I told her about my childhood where I now realise it was my own imagination was my play and guns were no part of it.
I send Love from the deepest part of my heart to the families and friends in America but I also send Wisdom that all of us now realise that ALL OF US have been responsible for what happened in Connecticut and that from this heartbreaking lesson all of us play a part for change that children maybe allowed to be children. Freedom is never won by violence and children need to know that. My own son asked me at 17 asked me could I become a british citizen as I have the right to do so my mother being English but I was born in Ireland and I asked him why. He said he wanted to join the British Airforce. I told him NO and I also told him I was not going to be a part of him getting into a plane with the intention of killing people. He never asked me again and he is now an engineer. I was shocked that he asked me and that made me deeply aware of the influence of the violence that plays a huge part on all our children.
Change is so needed on this beautiful planet we live on. In light and Love Emoji
Arrived in Dubai on Tue night, camera at the ready – Mosque, Jumeirah Road, Dubai. 
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Dubai Panoramic Photo
Attended a Photo night in Dubai few nights back lads and one of those who gave a presentation was the guy who shot this amazing panoramic shot of Dubai – from the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. The viewing deck is on floor 126 as he reminded us, and many of us have visited that deck as a ‘must see’ Dubai thing. As he informed us on the night the distance from the viewing deck to the top of the building is the same height as the Empire State building in New York!
The guy & his assistant brought a video camera with them to record their efforts and was scary just even watching it on the night. The camera used was some high tech one brought from Switzerland just for the purpose, from a manufacturer that I never heard of, using some fancy lens that I also never heard of. The final shot is a stitched panorama of some 48 individual photos, and you can zoom in with your mouse and get close-up of any area you wish.
Afghan cafe/restaurant owner makes chi (tea) for MB in Riyadh last weekend. Most places outside the Riyadh city centre area are very basic, generally small in size and not very hygienic with very small menu selection. The TV was tuned to one of the Afghanistan TV channels and was giving us the news from home in the Pashtu language. Big relief according to the owner & his customers that the US would soon pulling out.
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Dubai Parkour

Another Dubai video doing the rounds at the mo is of an English Parkour activist doing his stuff in some of the older areas of the Emirate. First section of the short movie is in the Spice or Gold Market area along Dubai Creek, and second section is from the Bastakia area (Bur Dubai). Both great places to visit if you are ever out this neck of the woods

For those in saudi on lower income, or those with small business like my Afghan friend, this Chinese make of motorbike is popular
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Home deliveries are possible
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Saudi Walls

I have only departed Saudi a few days lads and I discover that some Ministry has introduced a new ‘wall’ rule. All shops that have both male & female staff must now build walls within the shop at least 1.6m high to separate the males from the female staff. Its obviously a very good idea lads as it will:
  • Provide work for the construction industry
  • Prevent any funny business going on in the public areas of the shops between the male and female staff.
We Saudis can now rest easier in our beds at night in certain knowledge that the segregation of the man and the woman continues in the proper way. Allah u akbar. Read on lads:

Indian lad delivers eggs to the Afghan restaurant and is pleased that MB is taking his pic
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UAE Amnesty for illegals
The UAE Government recently introduced an amnesty for all those living illegally in UAE. If you come as a tourist, or your work visa gets cancelled (after your employment ends) you have 30 days to leave the country. Or you incur a daily fine. After a long period the fine becomes unpayable for many and they live illegally.
The current amnesty involves handing yourself in to the authorities, an iris scan takes place, you do not pay any fine but you receive a permanent life ban from the UAE. You are then free to leave, and must purchase your own flight ticket. The following link relates to one family from Pakistan who can not afford the ticket:
Driver stops for Chi at Afghan restaurant before delivering the blocks
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Salam
Ok lads, gotta go. Maybe bit boring this week. Can’t always be awesomely brilliant I guess. Take care y’all. Chat ya next week inshallah.
MB

Calculation Day


Sabah Al Khaire lads (Good morning lads)

Bit on the cold side at home I hear. Hopefully wood fires burning, electric blankets & hot water bottles serviced keeping you all snug & cozy. The weather in central Saudi Arabia is a delight for fair skinned Irish lads with lilly white skin who hate heat & direct sunlight. Its akin to decent Irish Summer weather at the mo with jackets required morning & evening. Nice.

Street art – Empty water bottle & cigarette butt

IMG_3621Mar

Dubai on the other hand is experience the usual seasonal foggy mornings:

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/thick-fog-set-to-continue-forecasters-warn-1.1136817?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26269500

Received another conversion attempt lads. An early morning attack this time. Landed down to the hotel lobby circa 7am to be greeted by young apprentice Imam (Muslim priest), who is attending the Imam College across the street. He was watching the prayer channel from Mecca at the time as usual, and upon seeing MB turned up the volume to head splitting level, in hope that higher volume was more likely to force the message into the brain of MB.

“Come listen to the Quran” he said, or words to that effect as he has minimal English. “You are giving me very large headache my young friend” said MB who felt the early stages of a migrane coming on. “Muslim beautiful, you must become” he replied with a beautiful Muslim smile, as I waited for the Indian lad at the coffee bar to land out my cappuccino (mafi sugar). “Muslim beautiful, Yahudi (Jew) beautiful & Christian beautiful” replied MB who was starting to enjoy the crack at this stage and was toying with the beautiful Muslim. Young lad was now obviously bit confused as he had obviously not previously considered the possibility that anyone other than Muslims could be beautiful and threw his eyes skyward, looking to Allah for inspiration. Before Allah could bestow some clever ideas MB got in again quick. “Have you ever travelled outside of Saudi my friend” said MB knowing he hadn’t, “you might get some new ideas”.

Construction waste – a study of green & brown

IMG_3623Mar

His level of English was insufficient to understand MBs question so he asked young Egyptian male receptionist to translate. Upon hearing the question Egyptian lad was too afraid to translate it correctly, and even with my limited Arabic I knew he translated as “are you good Muslim?”. The spineless Egyptian smiled a spineless smile and looked at MB thinking he was off the hook. “No BS please young Egyptian lad” said MB, feeling like wanting to break spineless Egyptian’s nose. “Have you ever travelled outside Saudi” said spineless Egyptian, fearing for his nose, to beautiful Muslim, but was still and will always remain, too fearful to ask about the possibility of new ideas entering beautiful Muslims brain should he ever see the wider world. “La (no)” said beautiful Muslim. “Inshallah you will” said MB. “Inshallah” replied beautiful Muslim, as he pondered the thought, trying to calculate how his future might go. MBs coffee arrived, MB sipped, the caffein kicked in, beautiful Muslim refocused on TV screen, headache symptoms receded and all was well with the world. Beautiful world!

Bitumen container

IMG_3624Mar

This week’s theme lads is all about calculation. Friend who has very sharp brain recently informed MB that they had just had “calculation day“. A day full of calculations, from college activities to other aspects of their daily life. And suggested it would make good topic for the blog. Bit like the book Ulysses lads, a day in the life sort of thing. My mind focused on the thought lads and within 15 mins my brain was so tired from ‘calculation’ thoughts, I had to take rest in my bed. When you think about it lads almost everything we do in life has some calculation involved. What time to get up in the morning? What time to leave the house to get to work on time? Or to get the kids to school on time? And so on and so on.

I suggest you do not think too much about it lads, as you will only exhaust your brains and need to lie down. So just crack on with life lads, but be aware that calculations are lurking everywhere and its only when the calculations go awry that life takes a turn for the worst. Get the calculations correct lads and the world will be truly beautiful for you & yours. Inshallah!

Plastic & rubble

IMG_3625Mar

This weeks pics are mainly from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I am not impressed with the disrespect that many many Saudi give their country. So the photos reflect. They are all shot on residential or commercial area streets. Everyone seems to throw food wrapping or papers out their car windows, or dump their rubbish on any available open space. Construction companies are the worst culprits. I do not know why the authorities do not crack down on such behaviour.

Back to the more traditional HX this week lads (that you all love), after the more photographic efforts of late. Paid extra dollars to the Yankee Website to enable colour and other features, so you will be even more mesmerized in the coming weeks & months.

As usual lads – if you think any friends would enjoy the HX just send on details, and welcome contributions from any & all.

1,000m long x 200m wide open area, filled to capacity by construction waste, dumped illegally to save cost of dumping in registered tip

IMG_3626Mar

 

Onwards:

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HX Music (Dedicated to friend KB, who moved family to Australia last year)

Let there be music lads. Irish icon Christy Moore, from many years back. From 2004 reunion concert I think. Told you previously that I was lucky enough to see a Planxty concert as a young lad. Will always remember. Copied the following from one of the comments on YouTube. The guy is not far wrong.

I’ve seen the Stones,Clapton,Ferry,Elton John, the Police, the Boomtown Rats, Ian Dury, George Michael, Squeeze, Dire Straits, Paul Young, Southside Johnny, Genesis, Neil Finn (Crowded House), the Pogues, the Dubliners, Mary Black, Christy on his own, and many others. But the Planxty concerts, I first saw them in 79 , have a magical, ethereal, almost mystical aspect to them. The only other concerts that have come close, in my experience – but a totally different experience, are Springsteen’s.

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Tyre & rubble – a study
IMG_3628Mar
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Good luck to Crosser RM
Another HX Crosser has moved to Australia. Working in Freemantle as a mine site paramedic. Seems also to like big trucks:
RM down under in Freemantle, Australia – Good luck RM!
RMMar
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Chocolate
Was amazed to see 5 Americano companies in the top 10 of the Chocolate World Cup lads. Had previously thought that the mega greasy burger & extra large fries with super size cola to go, was extent of yankee cuisine. As a dedicated and serious chocoholic I now look on the USA with new respect.
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Coffee mug
IMG_3629Mar
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Mali
The French have sent troops to Mali in recent weeks lads, allegedly to quell troublesome militants and assist the Government. I read today that that are now trying to control the Mali army who executed 30 inhabitants of first city they liberated, on the street, in summary justice style. So all is not well for sure. Some calculations have seemingly gone wrong and the French could have landed themselves in another Vietnam. Remember they started that one lads!
Anyway, Crosser SS is not a fan of the French invasion and blogs himself on the topic. Many like SS (and I do not say I agree with them for Mali seems a complicated situation to put it mildly) are blogging against the infidel/Crusader invasion. They are using past mistakes of France to add to their argument, like the following pic, which is famous shot from the French war in Algeria many moons ago:
From the French/Algeria war
Algeria
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From SS:
……anyway mali will be another iraq or afghanistan. rapists cannot guide the world now the time is changing (refers to current legal case against French man in India)
they took all the african money when they ruled. again when they are on the verge of becoming begger they want to invade for either oil or gold
can you convey this to french …..
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Another piece from conservative Yankee website the Huffington Post refers:
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Open space in front of apartment block
IMG_3630Mar
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UAE Football Team
We won the Cup last week lads and we are over the football moon. The players are also extremely happy and have mega smiles on their faces as the rulers, and the missus of Sheikh Mo in particular give out the goodies (the ‘1st wife’ as she is referred to, as there is another one at least):

Dubai: Shaikha Hind Bint Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, Wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has donated Dh25 million to the UAE national football team for their achievements.

The sons of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, Shaikh Rashid and Shaikh Saeed, have provided Dh12 million for the team and more donations and rewards are expected, with companies and businessmen coming forward with cash prizes and cars.

Striker Ahmad Khalil has already been given a new Range Rover for scoring the winning goal against Kuwait in the semi-final.

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Coffee & Pepsi to go, with plastic
IMG_3632Mar
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Is winning all that counts?
Great story that I recently came across on Fb and shared:
Is winning all that counts? Are you absolutely sure about that?Very little has been said about this…..On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.
Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first. Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:
“But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”He said at the beginning: unfortunately, very little has been said of the gesture. And it’s a shame. In my opinion, it would be nice to explain to children, so they do not think that sport is only what they see on TV: violent kicks in abundance, posh statements, fingers in the eyes of the enemy …
Tyre trouble
IMG_3633Mar
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Kissing In Dubai
How many times have I warned you about kissing MB in Dubai ladies? How many times? Indian lad and his babe did not heed my warning. Or maybe it was CPR. Now in jail and will later be deported:

Dubai: A couple have been jailed for one year for kissing in public despite the man claiming he gave his female friend CPR when she suffered an asthma attack.

The 28-year-old Indian man claims he was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when he kissed his asthmatic 25-year-old Filipina girlfriend in a lifeguard tower where an Emirati woman said she saw them cuddling and kissing.

The Dubai Misdemeanour Court convicted the defendants of committing a lewd act in public.

They were also fined Dh1,000 each for consuming alcohol.

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Palm leaves & fruit juice cocktail
IMG_3636Mar
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Louvre Museum & other stuff
Maybe I mentioned this one to you previously lads. UAE will shortly have a Louvre Museum. For 1st 10 years they will have exhibits from the Louvre in France. And gradually build up their own contents:
From the Irish Independent:
And Dubai has 20% of the World’s tallest towers:

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Graffiti & rubbish sculpture

IMG_3637Mar

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Snoring 

23% of Saudi couples are now affected by snoring lads. It’s even affecting our “intimacy“. If any of you can come up with cure I am sure the Rulers will reward you, as well as UAE footballers at least! Ideas please lads:

Manama: Around 23 per cent of couples in Saudi Arabia sleep in separate bedrooms due to the snoring of at least one spouse, a study indicates.

According to the unofficial study, several of the spouses have, however, complained that the issue had affected their intimacy and even their relations with the larger family, local news site Sabq reported on Wednesday.

“I was forced to file for divorce from my husband because of his snoring,” a woman was quoted as saying by Sabq. “My husband refuses to see a doctor because he does not believe he has a problem and attributes his snoring to being exhausted from work. My family has flatly rejected my complaints, arguing that I was interested in trivial and frivolous matters and causing problems and apologised to my husband for thinking about filing for divorce,” she said.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/controversy-on-separate-rooms-for-snoring-couples-in-saudi-arabia-1.1129765 utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26267545

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Oil drum with bottle

IMG_3638Mar

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Afghanistan

I wish to extend my good wishes  to young (21 year old) Crosser PRO who comes from the HX area at home and who will shortly be stationed in Afghanistan by his British army employers. PRO played football for MB only few short years ago as 14, 15 & 16 year old. Now, in the mere blink of an eye it seems, PRO will enter an altogether different world. I can not help but still think of him as the young smiling kid who played right full for me on the team. I can not think of him as young adult soldier. Make sure you calculate well young PRO. Important.

Recent email from him surprised me I must admit. He and others in his squad were disappointed to miss the February selection and will now await the March posting. I might previously have thought, had I considered it, that any young lad would not look forward to a tour of duty in such a location. The opposite is the case it seems. Strange to my way of thinking, but such is the way of the world.

Stay safe young PRO, respect the locals & their customs, and we are praying for your safe return. Salam.

PRO is now part of a very long line of Afghan history. The rulers and army top brass condition the squaddies to obey the orders, not to question why, but merely do or die. Take a look at one of my favourite pieces of TV ever. A great anti war piece. Sad that the BBC have now cut the final scene where you see the boys getting shot close up. Added greatly to the message. But still very much worth viewing: From Black Adder – Final episode.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fssPqRWx9U0

And even Poetry is abused to condition the mind:
 
When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
And go to your God like a soldier…………….Rudyard Kipling (From The Young British Soldier)
 
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Riyadh open space landscaping
IMG_3640Mar
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DH – The Reluctant Emigrant
Thanks to DH for her weekly efforts. Amusing as usual:
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Streetscape
IMG_3663Mar
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Get the calculation correct!
But if you get the calculations correct lads then life can be sweet!
IMG_5315Mar
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HX Photo – From 1939
Need some help from HX based Crossers. Can you please show the below photo to elderly relatives to try to identify any of the men in the photo. They were a digging crew who worked at the Lough Gur lake in 1939. Names if poss to MB. Thanks.
Lough Gur Diggers
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Salam lads
That’s it for another week lads. Stay safe. Calculate well!
MB
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond


Image

A soaring Kestrel over the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu. Took this shot when I visited Nepal on short break in November 2012.

Man Stuff


Greetings lads

Happy new year to you all and inshallah we will have a good one. If you are planning holidays at the moment lads keep visit to MB in mind in his lonely desert hideaway in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. You can not just turn up at the airport, we must organise an invitation for you, which will enable you to apply for visit visa in your country of residence. When you land please be aware that music, alcohol, dancing, much sport, cinemas, talking to unrelated females and all frivolous behaviour is generally considered haram and likely to land you with a jail sentence and a public flogging of varying severity depending on the transgression.

Great evening sky at Caherguillamore with winter tree skeletons

Caher Sky blue

However, assuming you are not an unrelated female, MB will be able to drive you around the city to experience the Thrill of the Saudi Roundabout and/or the Thrill of the Saudi Traffic Light Junction. The UAE has Ferrari World and much else for family excitement, but I assure you lads that it is as nothing compared to the ‘everyday driving style’ of the Saudi male. He goes around the roundabouts in the wrong direction if it gets him to his exit quicker, there appears to be wholesale national colour blindness in relation to the colour ‘red’ – as red traffic lights are considered as important as the used tissue he just threw out his drivers window onto the public street.  Please in your wisdom God/Allah – inspire the Royal Ruler to ban all Saudi males from driving anything faster than a camel, punishable by the the standard beheading, and allow the Saudi females to take ownership of all automobiles in the Kingdom. I assure you God/Allah that if the Ruler trys my suggestion for one month he will never change the law again. One for my 2013 bucket list, inshallah.

Windy evening sky at Rockbarton 

Sky yellow

Great time at home for 2 weeks with family & friends. Lots of rain to remind MB that he was no longer in the desert and some great skys. Took lodza photos over the hols especially in early morning. Gave you a few in last 2 blogs, and giving you a few more of them today. Especially some sky shots. Hope you like. Never realised how many telephone and electricity cables we have at home until this past holiday. Could not get a shot without them.

Sky with bird, behind my house, early days January

Sky bird

Ok lads, a few tales to tell you from the holiday period and the usual nonsense. Appealing to all Crossers in 2013 to send me stuff for inclusion or any ideas you have that I might tackle. Have already received very good suggested topic for next week from one of my more intelligent friends/acquaintances. So lets have them lads. MB awaits a flood of  replies (get real MB, think of the stuff yourself and stop bothering us!)

Sky at HX (over Conway’s House)

Sky + house

Man Flu

In a medical first for Ireland lads, if not the entire planet, a very close female acquaintance of MB caught man flu over the Christmas holiday. Now in the past lads, I can tell you with 100% certainty, that the same female had less than zero sympathy for any male of the species who contracted the dreaded man flu and would look on him as a Saudi male would look at a red traffic light, a worthless useless object for ridicule and scorn. But when the shoe suddenly went on the other foot lads, same lady threw herself in a heap into the bed, turned on the electric blanket for 2 whole days and moaned like a cow in the last stages of mad cow disease, just before the vet arrives to end the misery.

Copious amounts of tissues and medicines were purchased by the male relations of the family, who fully understood the symptoms, to assist the helpless victim. Mercifully, praise the Lord & Allah u Akbar, after 2+ days of TLC from those same male relatives (that she had laughed at under similar circumstances in the past) she regained her strength sufficiently to resume public appearances. A much more humble, understanding and  wise woman for her experience.

So beware ladies. A new strain of the flu seems to have developed and you too are now at risk. So before its too late, have a few words with your man about your past behaviour and he will accept your apologies with good grace I assure you. If the dreaded man flu hits you you will very shortly need all the TLC you can get!

Family inform me that we have new visitor to the tree at back of our house in recent months – a Collared Dove (note the thin black collar around his neck)

Collared dove

Man Shopping

I had to return to UAE after the holiday to renew my Saudi visa lads and took the opportunity to buy a few necessities. Namely one pair of shoes, one shirt and one trousers.

So knowing the items I needed I headed to the Ibn batuta Mall in Dubai and parked the car – 7.30pm. Walked into the mall and entered the first shop I encountered that had all the required items – 7.32pm. Had look around the shop and selected the approx correct size of the preferred shirt & trousers, headed to the fitting room – 7.34pm. Shirt ok, good to go. Trousers ok but leg adjustment required. Called assistant who pinned one leg to correct length. Put on own clothes and handed items to assistant – 7.39pm. Selected shoes of correct size and tried them on – all ok, good to go – 7.43pm. Paid the bill and was assured trousers would be ready for collection following evening – 7.46pm. returned to car – 7.49pm. Total shopping trip = 19mins start to finish.

For God sake ladies why does it take even the fittest of your number approx 4 hours to carry out the same task? I could play a whole round of golf in the same time FFS! Please ladies, please please please, take inspiration from MB and try to do better in 2013. Your man, if you have one, will respect you all the more if you do. And if you do not have a man, then a quicker shopper is a much more attractive proposition that one who is not. For your own sakes ladies, please take note!

Main Street, Bruff Village

Street lady

Syria

God help Syria. Speaking to Syrian female friend last week she informed me that in addition to the UN confirmed 60,000 dead (& that only includes victims where both first and family names could be confirmed) there are over 100,000 in prison and nobody has access to them so its unknown whether they are dead or alive. There are also millions now displaced within Syria and much food shortages. Cold temps and no heating or cooking oil. Petrol now over 5 USD per liter.

A friend said to me back in Ireland over Christmas that he heard a story that 150 people were killed recently in a single week in in Syria and he could not believe it. I informed him the figure is not correct, it is more accurately about 500 per week getting killed. He found it incredible. And I noticed Syria is disappearing from the TV screens back home. But you can believe it lads – 500 per week are getting shot or blown to pieces while the UN does nothing for various BS reasons.

And as in most wars its the women & children who often bear the brunt of the conflict.

God help Syria.

The Cliona Foundation

A good news story from back home. Great fund raising night was had last Saturday night for the Cliona Foundation, which I have mentioned in the past. And getting lots of well deserved publicity.

Secret Millionaire returns to Limerick
There’s so much doom and gloom about these days that it’s just so brilliantly uplifting to come across a good news story and particularly when it’s to do with Limerick. You may recall the RTE 1 Secret Millionaire documentary aired in September last, which covered our own special Limerick. Unbeknownst to the organisations that were approached by a seemingly ordinary chap whom they were led to believe was a Producer doing a documentary, and who later revealed himself as the Secret Millionaire – Richard Mulcahy was intent on helping those less fortunate than himself. From an unassuming background, Richard made his fortune in a number of areas including software development. Having spent a week in Limerick filming at the beginning of the summer, Richard will return to Limerick for the Cliona’s Foundation annual social night in Bulgaden on January 12 2013 along with the other organisations spotlighted in the SM programme.
http://www.ilovelimerick.ie/2012/secret-millionaire-returns-to-limerick/

Bruff village church with part rainbow

Bruff rainbow

Saudi Man & Saudi Women

Mentioned to you a number of times in the past lads that the Saudi King Abdulla is much loved by the people and is considered to be doing his best to improve the lot of women in the country. He recently appointed a load of women to an advisory council, where they will have to enter through separate entrance as the men in the council are unrelated and they are not allowed to mix. But the conservative clerics are cheesed off with his decision and think the women should be at home cooking and cleaning. They landed to see the King a few days ago to raise a protest. Thankfully he made them wait for 2 hours, before instructing his assistant to inform them to clear off and not be wrecking his head. Can imagine their faces when they heard!

The following 2 links tell the tale:

 
David Sheehan’s sheep
Sheep
Saudi Maid Story
Not sure if this story made the news at home lads but was well publicised in the Middle east region. From the Saudi PR machine:

Riyadh slams world reaction to maid’s beheading

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Sunday criticised world reaction to its beheading of a Sri Lankan maid convicted of killing her employer’s baby, the official SPA news agency reported.

Riyadh “deplores the statements made… over the execution of a Sri Lankan maid who had plotted and killed an infant by suffocating him to death, one week after she arrived in the kingdom,” the government spokesman said.

Rizana Nafeek was beheaded on Wednesday in a case that sparked widespread international condemnation, including from rights groups which said she was just 17 when she was charged with murdering the baby in 2005.

Nafeek was found guilty of smothering the infant after an argument with the child’s mother.

Back in Dubai for few days before heading to Saudi. Typical Friday morning scene from the UAE when the Indians get out the cricket bats for relaxation and fun after the week’s toil

Cricket

Entering Dubai Marina from Abu Dhabi direction, Marina towers in the background

Dubai

Have a nice weekend

Ok lads. Take care, and regards to all.

MB

Photos from HX – More!


Greetings to all. 30 more pics from my trip home. Heading back to the desert next weekend.

Happy New Year to all.

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Galtee Mountains, Limerick/Tipperary/Cork border

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Galtee Mountains

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Fog engulfed Galtee Mor (highest peak)

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Bridge @ Bruff village

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Bruff Waterfall

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Ballygrennan Castle, Bruff

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Bruff Waterfall (again)Image

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Mrs Cow!

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Mary Howard’s Pub, famous Bruff watering hole

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Bruff village

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Bruff Church

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Birds feeding

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Mr Crow!

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Meany’s horse

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My daughter & pal running by Ash Point, Lough Gur

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Knockfennell, Lough Gur, shot from the opposite Knockadoon hill

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Knockadoon, looking west

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Lough Gur

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Lough Gur

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Lough Gur

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Lough Gur

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Lough Gur birdsImage

Lough Gur swansImage

Lough Gur, wild goose (I think!)Image

LG & goose (again)Image

Grange Church, from across the lake with Garret Island in middleImage

Moonrise @ Lough Gur (it’s a marvelous place for a moondance!)Image

Wren Boys (girls) at my house on St Stephen’s Day evening – old Irish customImage

Bruff Village

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Grange Stone Circle, Winter solstice evening, 21 December 2012Image

Chat next year. Take care all.

MB

Christmas Photos from HX


Greetings all. A few photos of the past few days around the HX homeland. Cheers all!

Caherguillamore – Solstice Morning 21st December 2012 (x4)

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Solstice late afternoon – Grange Stone Circle

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Caherguillamore – early morningImage

Ditto

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Grange – Entrance to O’ Sullivans/Lough Gur on the Old Rd

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Early morning – Grange Stone CircleImage

HX FC – The Holy GrailImage

Reardon’s Pub – HX HQImage

Caherguillamore – early morningImage

Carol singing for ‘Cliona’s Foundation’ at Limerick Milk Market (LMM)Image

Shop – LMMImage

 

Two Dogs – LMMImage

Polish sausage seller – LMMImage

Polish Honey – LMMImage

Leather belt maker – LMMImage

Three swans over Lough Gur – Christmas Eve morning

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Boucher’s Castle – Lough GurImage

Sunday morning commemoration of 1920 shooting of 5 IRA fighters – Grange Church Graveyard

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Grange graveyard – Grave monumentImage

Grange Graveyard – Raising the flagImage

Sky behind MB’s house on Christmas eve

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Meanus Church – Christmas morningImage

 

Have a good one!

 

MB

 

Happy Christmas


Happy Christmas to you all lads
Inshallah you are all in good cheer and the festive spirit is upon you. MB is counting down the days til he will be with kith & kin. Home on 20th and not back in the desert until the 5th Jan. Al hamdallah & Allah u Akbar! Might try to do a brief HX while I am at home lads, maybe just a few pics, as time will not permit. Have to look after the family lads. Hope you all understand.
 
Christmas was always evident in Dubai, as its a very Westernised, but not a sniff of it in Saudi Arabia. Even though JC is one of the Muslim Prophets, his birthday obviously is not a consideration in the overall scheme of things. In a country where preaching another religion apart from the main gig is punishable by beheading, I suppose it should not come as any surprise to MB that there are no angels and such like hanging off Christmas trees in the shops or elsewhere. Nor even Christmas trees on which to hang them. Walked through one of the biggest malls in Riyadh last night and not a sniff of a bit of tinsel. Nada!
 
In my present Saudi home lads I am surrounded by the native brand of the Muslim religion, from sunrise to sunset. Before sunrise actually, from about 4.30am when the first call to prayer booms out from the speakers of the mosques. And for the sake of it lads, not that I consider myself particularly religious, in the spirit of the season thats in it, and for all that is good in all religions I give you the following from The Kite Runner. A religious first for the HX:

…there is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eyes of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation.
This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him…
there is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray,
I will pray that He will forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years,
forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity
only to turn to Him now in my hour of need. I pray that He is as merciful,
benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is.
– Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

Black Crow/Raven

Black Crow/raven. He features again below. (Note – Click on any pics in the blog to enlarge)
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Reaction to Last Week’s HX
Was only savage lads.
Football referee POB thanked MB & the HX for keeping him alive at present, in spite of a serious dose of diabetes which the Gods recently threw his way. We how have concrete proof lads, if indeed we needed any, that the HX has medicinal properties, in addition to the inspirational ones that the taco eaters in Guadalahara & Acupulco have already discovered. Does anyone know any lads in the US Food & Drug Administration so we can get the HX accredited, allowing us all to bask in the glory, and MB to bath himself in greenbacks? Haha lads, I won’t forget you all should this come to pass. With a postcard at least!
 
BOB was on lads, and she was none too pleased about the attitudes of my Saudi brothers. Even threatened them with some physicals:
 
From BOB:
Just read the weekly blog and have to say the pics were outstanding (thanks BOB, sure what can I say!).  I don’t think I would survive living in such a male dominated society.  Seems to be a mismatch between their ideas of female protection and oppression which would not appeal to me.  I would probably have half the male population beaten to a pulp to knock some sense into them.
 
But the Moustache feature really got BOB going lads, and her moustache of choice was Number 3. I am presently contacting the lucky Indian lad to inform him that he has found favour with an Irish maid. What a Christmas it will be for him in Bombay! She was not swayed by the cool looks & possibility of free jewelry from Nr 2, MBs jewelry trading friend from Yemen, who was, & still is, looking for Wife Nr 2.
 
From BOB again:
On a lighter note regarding the three pics, I think option 3’s the cutest (don’t care much for jewelry).
 
And received a humdinger of a response from Aussi Crosser ‘Anon’ lads, to last week’s piece on the Twitter exchange (about Saudi girls working in the fast food joint in Jeddah, turning into hookers during the course of a single shift). I do not agree with the thrust of Anon’s arguments ladies, but he puts his points well. Am sure many female Crossers will want to do a ‘BOB’ on him and beat him to pulp! 
 
From Anon:

Dear Michael,

I am somewhat concerned about Saudi women working as per your article “Saudi Men & Women – Mixing haram!”

With my limited knowledge of the region (he has much knowledge I assure you lads – do not be fooled), I think it is probable that many would think that women could potentially start work working and it ends in sexual freedom. Simply different cultural upbringing and approaches.

My concern is not about prostitution or even free consensual sex – it is the wider implications on employment and change in society.

With Saudi women not working in the mainstream mixed arena and very few women working at all, the change to society and expectations re women will be dramatic and stressful to all and sundry. Many men will feel that they have lost their mojo as it will be seen by most that they cannot support their family – this is an issue that will cause immense and extreme frictions within families and tribes – a serious issue seldom understood by outsiders.

As a result of women not working, they are used to an ‘easy life’ with the families and the like (very tribal) hence they have drivers, several maids and nannies etc – this is all expected and provided by the male of the family. Consider female ‘freedom’ and potential implications – fewer drivers, maids and nannies as the women want to have freedoms and take responsibility, to drive, to look after kids etc – I suggest that to those who do not know or understand the society that this will not happen for generations.

Herein lies the ultimate Catch-22 – the status quo is actually driven by the women, particularly the elders as they see it as their right to be looked after and pampered by their men. Children are looked after by maids – women are driven about and dropped off and picked up at the front door of every establishment – no woman will ever do grocery shopping nor carry any bags.

I hear much noise about womens rights etc in Saudi and the region – what surprises me is that only the rich and well off families in our society can afford 1-2 drivers, a house maid, a cook and a nanny per 1-2 children, yet this is common place for the vast majority of families in Saudi. I am not sure which society model is correct – but I know many women who envy Saudi luxuries.

Freedoms come with a price and I think we should spend some time understanding the price we have paid for our so called freedoms in the west. I know many western women who live in the region and complain about the so called ‘second class’ status of women – but the vast majority of these same women never want to leave because life is easy and you are pampered to etc.

Simply different cultural upbringing and approaches.

Thanks for Aussi male chauvinist view Anon, we appreciate all points of view in the HX, even yours. Keep ’em coming!
Potato Pickers 
Potato Pickers on Nepalese hillside. Men & women working together (& not a hooker in sight). From recent MB trip to Nepal.
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MB has international appeal
Masha allaha lads. It seems that MB has much international appeal. Have wrote up a few reports on tripadviser.com during the year and according the email that MB received few weeks back it seems that readers of my reviews broke down as follows:
  • USA – 35%
  • Rumania – 10%
  • China – 11%
  • Others 44%
 
Who would have thought lads that:
  • Rumanians & Chines would love MBs reviews
  • Rumanians & Chinese had anything in common at all
And in a big surprise to MB yesterday lads, there were 3 hits on the HX blog in Mexico. One assumes it was a few Mexicanos who were on break from loading heavy bales of narcotic substances from Toyota Hiace trucks into small plane for the short trip into Texas, and were in need of some inspiration. I am almost certain that we have no Crossers currently in Mexico lads, although we can never be sure. So assume the Hispanic types just typed ‘inspiration’ into the google home page and up popped MB & the HX. Its only plausable explanation I can come up with lads, and have feeling in my bones it’s true.
 
It gladdens the heart lads to know that the HX is bringing the peoples of the world together in a not-for-profit way and that only goodness and light is shining forth from our efforts. I must now alas give some serious thought to how I can turn a buck from all this. The bills have to be paid lads as I’m sure you will all understand. All ideas welcome lads. Please forward to MB in next few days so a little income is generated before the holiday. Thanks in advance lads.
Ajman Fish Market  
Ajman Fish Market, UAE. Where internationally renowned photo shooter (in Rumania, China & Mexico at least!) MB hangs out on occasion.
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Crosser GB

Told you few weeks back lads that we have some Crossers down under near the village of Port Fairy on the Southern Ocean. Well, no surprise to many of us, but one of the referred has made the local newspaper. Proud though we are of his Crosser exploits, GB could however have spared us the ‘just off the boat from famine starved Ireland’ look. There will be mortification in certain Crosser quarters:
Bird 
Nature shot – in honour of ‘Get Back To Nature’ Crosser GB – sorry for plastic basin GB – had no time to photoshop it to timber
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Dubai
Fishermen - Unloading The Fish 
Another mega MB shot from Ajman Fish Market.
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Qatari Poet

You just cant be going around preaching about uprisings lads. Especially if the lad in charge is well got in the West:
http://www.zawya.com/story/Qatari_poet_gets_life_in_prison_for_urging_uprising_lawyer-TR20121129nL5E8MT9YD2/
 
 
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Photo Competition
MB just entered Photo competition in Dubai lads. The richest Photo competition in the world (Dubai style!). No hope of winning am sure lads as its open to every professional shooter in the world, but its a bit of crack to take part. Not really sure of my selections must admit. But for what it’s worth here are the 4 entries of MB, and I list the category in which each is entered:
 
The Beauty Of Light (the main theme of the competition this year, and from which the overall winner of the Grand Prize will be selected)
Black raven Of Kathmandu 
Same lad as above colour pic. Was having the breakfast in Nepal last month and noticed this lad in adjacent tree. Is the colour pic above a better choice?
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Black & White 
Kathmandu - 1 in 3 
Kathmandu – 1 in 3. Noticed about 1 in 3 residents of kathmandu wear dust masks for protection from the traffic fumes and the pollution. Thought these 3 summed it up.
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General (anything goes)
Horse & Rider
Horse & Rider. Yes lads, a blurry pic. But nice blurry I think.
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Emirates (UAE culture & geography theme)
Fish market Traders 
Fish Market Traders. Loved this one lots some time ago but not sure now. What do you think lads?
 
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Yankee Dogs
Even the ‘1 Billion hits on Youtube’ South Korean rapper PSY feels the need to apologise to the Yankee dogs lads. Has the man no pride! He recently appeared on Yankee TV:
 
 
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DH – Reluctant Emigrant

Happy hols to DH & her clutch. Thanks for all the tall tales during the year DH. Many more to come in 2013 inshallah:
  
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Salam/Peace/Sionnach
Enjoy the hols lads. Stay safe.
Home is where one starts from. 
– T.S. Eliot
Lough Gur
HX lake from the HX homeland. Otherwise known as Lough Gur. Inshallah will shoot a few more like this over the hols. 
Regards to you all lads. To all Syrian Crossers – hopefully 2013 brings a speedy conclusion to your misery. Thinking of you all especially at this time.
MB

Awakening


Salam, Shalom & Dia Dhuit
I hear parents are christening their kids with the name ‘Noah’ in ever increasing numbers back home lads. On account of fact a name like that will bestow junior with some ark building qualities from the Gods, and his skills will be in big demand in the years ahead. The new IT! Was chatting with the family during the week on Skype and was difficult to hear them on the other end with the noise of the rain blasting off the windows, and stripping paint from the external walls. Where will it all end lads! No knowing. On similar vein hope all our Kabayan friends & their families safe in Philippines after the awful storm that has killed many.

Meanwhile in the desert lads, the sun continues to shine but with less severity than the Summer version, and we are now all bronzed and beautiful. No kidding!

Lots of stuff for you this week lads. And a few pics as usual.

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We like to see the clouds arriving in the desert. Some shade from the sun.

“For the great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
for all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

– G. K. Chesterton

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MR – The Book About Awakening
When I write my book! How many times have we said that lads? Well Crosser of old MR didn’t just talk about it. She went ahead and did it. Informed me few weeks back she had written a book and was in the last stages with Amazon.com. Was finalised in the past week and now available for all. I have not yet read it, as will do so over the holiday, but MR informs me that it contains some photos of the Stone Circle & the lake in the HX area. So looking forward to a few glasses of vino, open fire and The Book About Awakening.

Difficult to describe what the book is about. ‘Consciousness’ and ‘Awakening’ maybe, from my miniscule knowledge. Asked MR to write me an explanation piece and she has obliged. I have not printed her full composition, but have taken 2 extracts and given you link to the whole if you care to read all. See below.

So lads, encourage you all to support MR, but only available as a Kindle download for $6.50. So you got to treat yourself to a kindle also lads, which might be no bad treat for yourself for Christmas after a tough year past.

So big Mabruk to MR and wishing her the best. Thanks also for the contribution to this weeks HX MR. It’s been too long!


From MR for the HX Report:

Extract Nr 1 –

Well where to start about the Awakening?

I have studied the Mayan Calendar and it has through the media been exploited without understanding the structure of the calendar in the first place. I have done clearings and ceremony work with a keeper of  the Mayan calendar Sean Alan Caulfield. He is a shaman and works closely with the Elders of the Kalahari Desert. I met him in London last year. He explained extensively to me  how the Mayan calendar works and it is not a calendar of dates but a calendar of consciousness and a record and a predictor of changes in consciousness from before the universe even began. The Mayans were exceptional and experts in plotting the transits of the planets. Here is his website and you will see from the calendar that there has been levels of consciousness from before our galaxy existed. According to the Mayans there has been 9 levels of consciousness and this is how everything has evolved. As consciousness rises everything evolves.

 http://www.seancaulfield.com/the-mayan-calendar.aspx

Extract Nr 2 –
Now it is in revelations in the bible and the Mayan calendar being the most precise record of the changing history regarding humanities different ages, it is beyond a doubt now that our world is changing. On the 21-12-2012 which is Winter Solstice and Winter Solstice is our ancient ancestor’s celebration of the sun leaving the winter which is the season of rest and rejuvenation  and celebrating the dawning on the day of Spring returning. On this day and the Mayans predicted the sun will cross the center of the Milky way which is the centre of our galaxy and astronomers and science have now validated that the sun will do this on this day. The planets will start to move back towards the center of our Milky Way after this day. For over 26,000 years they have been moving away from it. If humanity can only open up to a wider perspective of who we are and to take the step out of the box we have been living in, a whole new way of perceiving others, our planet and the universe  will change and it is not an if…it is a when..and it is happening. Eventually humanity will come into right relationship with each other and with our Mother Ship, the EARTH, as without her we are nothing.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/27063903/The%20Book%20About%20Awakening.doc

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To MR from MB


From amazon.com:
A book of teachings, poems, affirmations, and photographs in understanding your awakening and how to navigate through these changing times in our evolution. Everything is changing on the outside but the greatest change is the change within. This book hopefully the first of many will assist you to answer many questions which you are not receiving from the outside of you. It is a journey which all of you will have to take alone in order to uniquely understand your own journey.

Saudi Men & Women – Mixing haram!
It is safe to say lads that the majority of Saudi men agree with the status quo which discourages or forbids the mixing of the male & female as we would know it in the west. Inform you weekly that it is only allowed for ladies in presence of a male guardian. And even then, from what I can see, its very rare. I am in the country how for 8 months and have never spoken to a Saudi lady (no harm in that says MB’s missus as she reads this section!). Anyway, even if i was here for 8 years I think my ‘single’ status would remain.

The following twitter exchange will give you an idea of conservative male thinking in the kingdom. A Saudi man walks into Hardees, a local fast food chain, for a ‘chip n burger’ and is horrified to see Saudi females working in the establishment, rather than the Philippinos he would more normally have expected. He immediately thinks of the position that the Government is forcing these ladies into by not prividing a job in a ‘female only’ environment thereby making them work in a place where it is inevitable that there will be mixing of the male & female. And as he memorably says – A waitress at the beginning of the work shift, and a prostitute at the end.

This piece of literary brilliance encapsulates much, if not most, of what outsiders (even most Muslim outsiders) think is very strange about the prevailing thinking in KSA. Absolutely nuts. Crazy. But at least the guy who made the statement is now threatened by a lawyer who is encouraging the Saudi ladies in question to take a case against him for impugning their honour. But have grave doubts that they will do so as, for one, they would have to explain the extend of the male/female mixing at work when they appear in court. Not easy, and could end them in more trouble than the blogger.

From Twitter
Anger swelled in the Saudi blogosphere after a blogger posted a tweet addressed to the labour minister.

“You should stop corrupting the society. We will be your enemies on Resurrection Day. Our women are now waitresses at Hardee’s in Jeddah,” the blogger posted.

However, a woman blogger blasted him for the remark.

“Being a waitress and doing an honest is better than begging or prostitution,” she wrote.

However, the blogger insisted on his view.

“A waitress at the beginning of the work shift, and a prostitute at the end. The frequent mixing of women with men leads them to sitting together easily and to dating.”


http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/prostitute-tweet-sparks-anger-1.1113649

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It’s a man’s world!

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Bruff Convent

The latest lads – Still for sale. One conditional offer has been made and an ‘English Group’ has twice visited Bruff for an inspection, prior to making a bid it is hoped. A 3rd group is investigating some potential uses prior to making a bid, assuming the figures stack up. And how do you know all this MB? Because I just know lads. And that’s where it lies. Keep you posted.

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For sale – Bruff convent school, now closed

 

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Interview with Photographer Steve McCurry

MB uses the WordPress blog site lads and so does another legend of the camera Steve McCurry. Considered one of the most renowned in world in the field of snapping. And with good reason. His photos are seriously good. So SMc makes the mega bucks with his shots, while MB offers his awesome pics on the HX every week for free. There is just no justice in the world, eh lads?!

Anyway, some lady at the WordPress, who obviously has much time on her hands, interviewed SMc this week and send us all her blog. Herewith:

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/iconic-photographer-steve-mccurry-talks-blogging-and-wordpress/

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McCurry makes a fortune, while MB works construction

 

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Grasshopper
Was reminded recently of one of my favourite TV programmes ‘Kung Fu’ of years ago lads and looked up a few clips on Youtube. Was full of wisdom and lessons which I discovered during the week were all from the Taoist philosophy. The programme makers were into Taoism and researched it to use as guideline for the lessons of each episode. Great stuff!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCyJRXvPNRo

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Yoga
We have some Yoga buffs in our Crosser midst. If any of you fancy a trip over this weekend lads, there is Yoga & music fest in store:

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/leisure/dubai-to-host-three-day-yoga-and-music-festival-1.1114932

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A gull swoops for food on the calm waters of Dubai creek (eat your heart out McCurry!)

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Dropbox
As often happens lads, as we have seen many times in the past, once the HX Report gives a heads up, the moovers & shakers kick into gear. Last week MB mentioned ‘Dropbox’. Within days the mannikins at Dropbox decided to make huge investment in the international home of Crosserhood – Ireland. Just another example lads, if you needed one, of the HX Report dragging our rain sodden impoverished isle from the depths, and inshallah making it the ‘Dubai’ of Europe in due course. A shining light in a desert of debt and misery.
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http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/1203/breaking5.html

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HX Music
Crosser JMc had posting on her Fb page recently of great Irish Rock band Thin Lizzy. So have chosen 2 of their classic pieces for you all lads. I was amused to see some time back to read that ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ is the number one played tune of the US forces radio in Afghanistan. Dancing In The Moonlight is may favourite, but I have not selected it. Take a listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTH6nrD0ars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quyB8PMTD3o

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Guitarist entertains on Dubai Creek dinner cruise

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The Moustache
The majority of Indians working in the Middle East hail from the southern Indian state of Kerla. One feature that distinguishes male Kerlits from others is their moustache. Almost all males from the region sport one. On asking one such Kerlite friend why this was so he explained it as follows.
It is the true sign of a gentleman. There is only one thing that truly distinguishes a man from a woman – a moustache. Nothing else. And the other necessity for a true Kerla man is a pen in his shirt pocket. To sign a cheque, take an order, record a statement. Anything. So armed with a moustache and a pen a man is truly a man and an attractive proposition for any eligible female. I explained to him that in the West it is often the sign of homosexuality. He would hear none of it. He was proud of his growth and nothing I could offer would change his mind.

Let me know what you think ladies. Want your feedback. Would any of the following non-Irish lads take your fancy:

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Opinions in confidence please ladies? Nr 2 is Yemeni jewellery trader friend of MB and is looking for 2nd wife, if any lady interested.
 
 
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Saudi Disputes
I mentioned the Grand Mufti a few weeks ago lads. The leading Muslim cleric in the Kingdom. Well he is back in the news lads. And for a reason I would never have dreamed of.

The Saudi Government recently introduced a law that places a tax on all employees that the employers must pay. Approximately Euro 500 per employee per year. Some companies in the construction industry out here have maybe 20,000 workers. So thats 10 Million Euro new tax for companies of that size. Needless to say all employers are unhappy about the new law. But the clever saudi are attacking the proposed law in a number of ways, detailed in the linked article. But one of the attacks is ingenious. The employers have asked the Grand Mufti to issue a Fatwa against the new law. And if he does lads then the new law just becomes toilet paper. It will not be enforcable and the Government can just forget about it.

i tell you this lads because I see you are all moaning about the budget in Ireland this week. So may I suggest that you all pay a visit to the local Bishop and ask him for a ruling. Worth considering lads. And just another lesson you can take from your Arab brothers. Allah u Akbar.

 

DH – The Reluctant Emigrant
More from DH on family life in the desert – national dress day at school and her kids choice of clothing.

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/irelands-national-dress/

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Tracking in the desert is easy

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Ciao lads
Ciao for now lads. Until next week. Will be taking break for the Christmas after next week’s effort. Have a nice weekend y’all.
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If McCurry takes one as good as this I’ll eat my Arab hat!
 
Be good!
 
MB

For the ladies


Salam Lads
Inshallah you are all in good spirits, life is giving you bounties and the sun is shining. The HX Report goes from strength to strength as you all know lads but MB is trying to build up the numbers. So if you have any pals who might be interested please send on the details. Or ’email groups’ who might be interested.
Further to a query to MB lads, the header photo that I use for the blog is one I shot one night in Dubai Marina. Great lights and great place for night shoots, if the fancy takes you.
We had rain in Riyadh last night lads. Serious rain. Severe flooding in many places. Like most of the Middle East its impossible to keep rainwater gullies in working order as the blowing sand keeps filling them up. So they are always blocked. And never in working order. Serving a more architectural than engineering purpose. There for show. The rains poured down in bucketfuls and had nowhere to go. Road crews were out today cutting channels with electric road saws trying to insert new pipes under the roads to alleviate the problem. They kept the trenches reasonably narrow so we were able to drive over them, sort of. Its still raining but tomorrow is start of our weekend so we can all chill out and avoid the stressful raging waters.
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Riyadh street scene earlier today
Ok lads. Much to tell you. Let’s crack on!
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Where To Live?
Ok lads. Am sure you have asked yourself many times in your life where would be the perfect place to live? Nice climate perhaps, crime free, peaceful, scenery, ocean, picturesque, and much more.Well lads, think no more. It has already been decided. If you like small town life (towns less than 20,000) then Port Fairy in Victoria, Australia is the place to be. Voted Nr 1 in the world, ahead of 2 small towns in Ireland. And I can imagine your first question lads – do we have any Crossers living in Port Fairy MB? What a truly stupid question lads. Of course we do. A daddy Crosser, a mommy Crosser & a baby Crosser – living & breeding merrily amongst the good burghers of PF. This was most assuredly the main reason the town won the award for God sake. Do not ask such imbecilic questions ever again lads. And next question from many no doubt will be – were you ever in PF yourself MB? Of course I was lads. Bought chocolate in Ye Olde Sweet Shope, drank beer in the pub, had some nice tucker in the village restaurant, played golf (sublimely) on the gorgeous links golf course just outside the town on the Southern Ocean, and generally lived the life of a PF-er for a few weeks some time back. Naturally enough the MB flavour rubbed off on the locals and they now find themselves Numero Uno in the world. Need I say more lads.
THE people of Port Fairy have always known it, but now it’s official — the seaside town is the world’s best small town to call home. Port Fairy is celebrating today after scooping the prestigious international LivCom award for the most liveable town with a population under 20,000.The United Nations-endorsed award was placed firmly in the hands of Moyne Shire mayor Jim Doukas, chief executive David Madden and community representative Margaret Watt at a special ceremony in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday. http://www.standard.net.au/story/1149695/port-fairy-the-best-little-town-in-the-world/?cs=72
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Whale watching, near Port Fairy
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Shot by MB along the Great Ocean Road, one hour drive from PF. The GOR takes maybe 4 to 5 hours to drive and has spectacular scenery, akin to the Doolin & Cliffs Of Moher in Ireland.
And if you want list of the top countries to be born in lads, take a look at the following: Ireland at 12, UAE at 18, and KSA at 38.http://www.economist.com/news/21566430-where-be-born-2013-lottery-life?fsrc=scn/tw/te/co/worldinNov25
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The Gathering
The Irish Government has organised a tourism venture for 2013 to attract emigrants and descendants of emigrants to return to Ireland for one week in June (I think) to help create links with the greater Irish diaspora. Which in turn might benefit Ireland in the longer term.
I told you all way back that I returned to Ireland in June for the local festival and that the local community had organised an early version of the Gathering through a web site called irelandxo.com. Same idea and the Gathering has become part & parcel of irelandxo.
On one event in June, a walk around the HX/lake area I happened across a Texan, who had come to the area in search of his roots and the final piece of a jigsaw he had searched for over a 15 year period. I had the pleasure of introducing Timothy Cleary to his long lost Irish cousins – Pat & Danno Murnane from the HX general area.
After Timothy returned to Texas he sent me an email that detailed his search over the years and I give you now link to same, plus a small extract from his story. Thanks v much Tim, and hope to see you in HX next Summer and hopefully we shall have a beer or 3 together. Inshallah.

The connection I have is that my grandfather’s grandfather (John Cleary) was the brother of Bridget Cleary, who was the mother of Pat and Dan Murnane’s grandfather. The property she brought into the Murnane family is owned by Dan Murnane, which we past on our walk. It took me about 15 years to find Pat and Dan Murnane, but well worth the wait. My story is this.

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Messi the Messiah

Don’t know if you noticed the recent friendly fixture between Argentina and Saudi Arabia lads. Created much hoop la out these parts as most footy fans out here supporters of either Barca or Madrid, and Messi is a Messiah to all. We (us Saudis) drew 0-0 with the much hyped Argies lads, Messi or no Messi. Just shows the power of camel milk, don’t you think lads?
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A truck load of camels heading to the farm or the meat factory
Upon arrival at Riyadh airport the Messiah was mobbed by fans. The Kalashnikov toting soldiers jumped in to save him shouting loudly at the crowd ” stand back there lads and let Lionel through, or he think we are complete bunch of donkeys – or camels”. Anyway lads, as they bussled him through the marauding hoards, the Kalashnikovs were swinging in all directions with the safety catches turned off no doubt. The following article has great pic of one such moment as the weapon swings under the nose of LM and he has worried look on his face. Or maybe it was all a cunning plan from the Saudi footy manager. His match performance on the night was pretty tame I must say lads, but maybe understandable. See what you think:

Lionel Messi is one of the most famous soccer players in the world, and he has a fan base as large as the one Michael Jackson had all around the world, and we’ve seen him visiting many countries before, and we’ve seen the crazy fans, but what happened in Saudi Arabia was something totally different.

http://www.overloadit.com/2012/11/15/lionel-messi-in-saudi-arabia/
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Saudi Women
Most Western women would consider the lives of their Saudi counterparts very restrictive I am sure lads. They are not allowed to drive a car, and can not really do much without the permission of a male relative. Even going out alone is a no-no generally, unless a close male relative is attached (husband, brother or father) or they get arrested by the Mutawah (Religious police). The latest news to hit the headlines is the sms notification that the male relative now receives when the missus leaves the Kingdom. As soon as her Passport is scanned an automatic text message is sent to the husband to let him know what’s happening.

It’s necessary I think lads. For example – Lets say Khalid drops the missus to the airport in Riyadh because she says she wants to visit her family in Jeddah. But she has in her mind all the time taking a shopping trip to Dubai with the credit card. In the past lads the subsequent cc bill could have crippled the family. Now lads thanks to the great new law, Khalid gets the automatic text message and he immediately calls the emergency contact number on his Visa card and cancels the card. Family saved all is well. Al hamdallah. And Fathima will receive gentle reprimand upon her return, and receive appropriate addiction counseling for her ailment. She will recover, apologise for her wayward ways and all will be well in the Kingdom.

So ladies, you who might have gone all red in the face and apoplectic upon reading that news last week (I saw it featured prominently in the kaffir Western news media) must rethink your attitudes and understand that your ways are sometimes not the best. And the rulers of your countries could learn a lesson or two (or even three!) from the benevolent rulers of the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia. Allah u akbar!

RIYADH: Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements. Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Nov-22/195915-electronic-tracking-new-constraint-for-saudi-women.ashx#axzz2D1DgF7pv

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A brave Arab girl – Dana Bakdounis
Most girls in Saudi wear the burka from approx age 11 lads as I have previously informed you. Local Saudi girls will wear full face veil with only the eyes visible. Some non Saudi Arab girls may wear head scarf instead of the veil. So when a girl is brought up in such an environment, where her marriage will be arranged by family, and in many many ways she is expected to conform, it takes much guts to rebel against the status quo.

Dana B has caused a stir by rebelling against the burka & veil. No doubt her family will have in mind that her behaviour will impact on her chances of finding a suitable husband, amongst other considerations. She on the other hand is a young lady, like most kids out here, who has exposure to the internet and modern media from young age, and will have a different outlook on life and what she wants and doesn’t want. Part of a change that’s coming. Will take many many years to change the old ways but will be the result in the end. But at present such people are rare. And brave.

Among the dozens of Facebook groups spawned by the Syrian uprising, a page supporting women’s rights has suddenly received a wave of attention, because of an image posted there by one of its followers. The picture was of 21-year-old Dana Bakdounis, without the veil she had grown up wearing – and it polarised opinion.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20315531

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A day out at the beach in many parts of the Middle East may look strange to those not familiar with the locality or the culture. But it’s what you are used to I guess.
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Syria
Had very interesting conversation with Syrian work colleague few days ago about the troubles at home and the Iranian involvement. He recently went to visit his daughter in Lebanon and took the opportunity to take 2 day trip to Damascus to check on his house which has been locked up for many months. The house is very close to the Presidential Palace and he had to pass through the Palace security on his trip to the house. Upon being stopped at the checkpoint he realised that most of the guards did not speak Arabic. Only Farsi – Iranian Revolutionary Guards he assured me. And the guards that spoke to him in Arabic did so in a South Lebanon slang and accent, as he described it – Hezbollah fighters. The Hezbollah and Iranians conversed with each other in very poor English but the Hezbollah guys were taking their orders from the Iranians. They asked the Iranians, for example, if it was ok for this guy to visit his locked up house inside the security area. The Iranians gave their permission and he passed through. So goes to show who is calling the shots. And the existence that Bashar is having when he can not trust any Syrians to guard him. It can not be long more before he flees or catches some lethal misfortune. Inshallah.
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Hezbollah demonstrators in Beiruit in Feb 2012 support and show pics of Syrian President Bashar Assad shot by MB on trip to the city
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Drop Box
Hope you are all using Drop Box lads. Very useful for transferring or sharing files. Or creating a link. See for example, this week’s HX Soccer Club notes (more MB stuff) that is in my Drop Box file:https://dl.dropbox.com/u/27063903/Reports%2026.11.2012.doc
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Saudi Ruler
Our Saudi Ruler King Abdullah has appeared in public for first time in many months lads following some medical treatment abroad. He is much admired in the Kingdom and is considered by many to be a Ruler who is trying his best to change the country for the better, within the restrictions in which he must operate:

http://www.zawya.com/story/Saudi_king_appears_for_first_time_since_Nov_17_surgery-TR20121128nL5E8MS9WC3/?lok=161712121128&&zawyaemailmarketing

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Dubai buzzing
Read about the latest buzz created this week by Sheikh Mo lads. A development that will cost more than the entire value of Ireland. Not that we want to buy Ireland lads. We have absolutely  no use for a rain drenched oil-less piece of bogland real estate in the back arse of poverty strapped Western Europe. You can keep it. Not if you gave us all the tea in China lads would we take it. Even as a gift. But Dubai – well that’s an entirely different matter. I wont bore you about links 2 & 3 below lads but link Nr 1 is a whopper. We will build the largest Mall in the world called The Mall Of The World – just down the road from the Emirates Mall, presently the biggest Mall in the world. We really are having a laugh at your expense lads. Keep filling your cars with our petrol lads and not that shale oil muck from Canada & the US. Please. We gotta fund all this somehow lads:
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Dubai has many mega projects already including the worlds tallest building the Burj Khalifa (center of pic) and the Dubai Mall (next to the Burj)
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HX Music
Had no music for last few weeks lads so selected something for y’all. One most Irish Crossers will remember from their school days. In the Irish Gaelic language. Beidh Aonach Amarach (There’s a market tomorrow) (Souk Bukra – Arabic lads – impressed or what!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYDikGIRs2E

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DH – The Reluctant Emigrant

DH is giving you all flavour of kids birthday parties out these parts lads. Aint nothing like the ones at home!

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/happy-birthday-not/

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Have a nice weekend lads

Take it easy it out there. Until next week.

Sand storm. Visibility can get down to near zero.


MB

Business As Usual


Greetings lads
 
 
Greetings from Saudi where the weather has turned a little cooler during the week and MB has had to wear jacket in the early morning chill. A few droplets of rain landed on the head and face of MB for few minutes on Tuesday from the scattering of dark clouds that had appeared overnight. Only my second sighting of rain in last year, apart from the monsoon conditions I witnessed back home in September. UAE had some heavy rain this week, including yesterday just before the big golf tournament kicked off (McIlroy one behind Donald after opening round).
 
 
This week lads I give you business opportunities, more tales of Sheik Mo, and the sequel to last weeks piece from Saudi Crosser XXX on life in the Kingdom. And much much more.
 
Note lads: Double click on any of the below pics to view in full size.
 

Dubai sunset – on a dry evening
 
More Jeddah Pics
Gave you some MB pics from Jeddah last week lads. Posted an album on FB. Take a look if interested:
 
 
Movie Choice
No cinemas in Saudi lads. They are not allowed. Haram. Despite the restriction, MB watched the new James Bond movie ‘Skyfall’ during the week. Not impressed. Just decided to download a real movie for some Saudi weekend entertainment – Snatch. And will follow that up with Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. If you have never seen either lads please get a life and purchase or download both. But suspect most Crossers have seen. Found this comparison:
 
Business Opp
In recent times I have given you many many business opportunities lads. From various ‘mega buck return’ deals in Nigeria, to camel meat & milk franchises, to Yemeni honey, to Australian mining shares and God only knows how many more. The opportunities provided to you all lads have been truly endless, and fruitful if you took a punt. This week I bring you a cracker lads. An opportunity that comes from heaven itself. No kidding this time lads.
  
Camel meat on the horizon
 
Previous business opps have also included Yemeni honey
 
OK lads, the company is called ‘Ringtokk’ and it was recently set up by 2 guys, one of of whom is the business development guy and one of whom is serious software programmer. One of them is pal of MB. They have come up with idea that will wipe out roaming charges on your mobile calls when you are out of your own country. It still costs you to use the system, but at fraction of the cost of the telecoms operators.Works like this:
  • Log on to ringtokk.com and register with the website. You are then good to go. Put say 10 USD on your account with a credit card.
  • Open the website to dial the number you want to connect to. It can be land line or mobile number – it does not matter. The process is simple.
  • Few seconds after you dial the number from your laptop or PC your own phone will ring. Answer it. Voice tells you that you are being connected to the other number and you will hear the ring tone.
  • Other person picks up and you speak phone to phone over the net.

I have tried the system and must admit its very impressive. Simple to use and extremely high quality sound. Much better sound quality than skype and you will not lose connections. In the next month or so you will be able to download an app onto your smart phone and carry out the whole process without using laptop. Then it should really take off.

The opportunity arises lads due to fact that the 2 boys need some seed capital as they have used up all their personal funds to get the whole thing to this stage. So if anyone interested in sticking in a few dollars then you will take a slice of the pie. Minimum investment 1,000 dollars. Contact MB if any interest. Check it out lads:

http://ringtokk.com/

Congrats EH – Sideline
Want to give some publicity lads to one of our Crosser members who came up with a business idea as part of a school project. Think she’s about 15 years old. Now her company/business will feature on the the Irish TV programme Dragon’s Den – for start up companies to get some funding if they succeed on the show. It’s related to the Irish sport of hurling and like most great ideas its very simple. Won’t say much more. The video link explains all. But if you are involved with a club back home, or involved with hockey, then the product will be of interest. And nice Christmas idea if your partner or friends are involved in the sport. Best of luck EH, who hails from the HX heartland. Contact details:

ehoulihan08@cik.ie

Link to EH product
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U97HJTDVepw

Link to Irish sport of ‘Hurling’ (for the non-Irish who may not be familiar)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__L1NiWbruI

Leeds Utd
Not satisfied with owning Man City and Paris SG we have now snapped up Leeds Utd lads. Will be some interesting conversations between the Leeds accents and the Arabs!

http://gulfnews.com/sport/football/new-leeds-owners-plan-to-awaken-sleeping-giant-1.1108394

Al Wasl FC fans in Dubai. Closet Leeds fans for many years back.
 
Arabs have worn the white of Leeds United for hundreds of years. The purchase was inevitable.
 
Sheikh Mo
How many times have I told you about the legendary Sheikh Mo lads? How many times? Many many times lads have I given you tales of his most regal greatness lads? So many I have lost track. I know there have been doubters amongst you lads. Especially those of you from the poverty inflicted lands of Western Europe who do not have first hand experience of the exploits of his most Royal Highness. Then doubt no more lads. Will you take Land Rover’s word for Sheik Mos greatness lads? Yes indeed lads, I think you will.
 
In bid to have some of the Royal majesty and greatness rub off on their business lads, Land Rover arrived in Dubai last week and presented the very first 2013 Land Rover to Sheikh Mo. Number plate – Dubai 1. What else says you lads?! And in a double whammy to the opposition they landed another one to Junior Sheikh Mo – young Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan, our future ruler. Number plate – Dubai 11. Awesome or what lads!!!
 
World’s first 2013 Range Rover delivery to Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed
The two Range Rover vehicles delivered to His Highness were the first to be handed over globally. One vehicle with the symbolic DUBAI 1 registration plate was delivered to His Highness along with an additional vehicle with the registration DUBAI 11 for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
 
 
Doubt no more lads!
 

Saudi Crosser XXX
We featured last week lads a contribution from Saudi Crosser XXX about the situation in his homeland. This week I give you the conclusion of his piece. Thanks XXX.

To be fair, the situation today is nothing like the situation yesterday & isn’t entirely dire thanks to the new generations and new social media that allow some freedom. There are some 2.9 million Twitter users in Saudi Arabia, according to one recent study, and it is the world’s fastest-growing Twitter zone . see this link in the New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/world/middleeast/saudis-cross-social-boundaries-on-twitter.html.

In a country that sand trickles through an hourglass at a steady rate, the recent announcement of a sudden change at the top of the kingdom’s powerful ministry of interior replacing prince Ahmad (72 Y) with prince Mohamed (50 Y) who come from the second generation of king Abdulaziz progeny indicated a slight improvement toward reform and perhaps an end of those who said that unless and until Islam the only belief on earth, there will be NO peace, this is the mentality that was supported by the earlier minister (It is not only Islam, but Christianity also “holy wars” for 1000s of years) .

The main theme of the third report of the National Society for Human Rights was that the government executive bodies have failed to meet the ambitions of King Abdullah. At the end of the report, NSHR provided a list of recommendations including suggestions for partial elections of the Shoura Council as well as limiting transgressions by security forces and CPVPV members against citizens. Just yesterday, the fifth session of the ongoing trial of the two prominent human rights activists Mohammad Al-Qahtani and Abdullah Al-Hamid was held. The judge insisted in the last trial session to make it private, but the two activists firmly refused. The judge finally changed his mind and made this session public. Every single details of the trail was available to twitter users and I doubt that this is the case today in the official newspapers.

In conclusion yes, there are a lot of things that need to be changed in Saudi Arabia politically, socially, religiously and constitutionally and I hope this is will happen soon for a bright future to SA and hope that our children will have a peaceful society.

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UAE kids play
Interesting survey on the playing habits of kids in the UAE. Approx 60% play alone.

Dubai: 62 per cent, or roughly six out of 10 of UAE children play alone which could potentially negatively affect their development, a new UAE study revealed.

The study titled Children’s Play Index in the UAE aims to gauge if UAE children have a good balance between play and other activities. It was independently conducted in between July to September 2012 by TNS Research Agency and commissioned by family leisure company Fun City. The study was released on the occasion of the Universal Children’s Day that is celebrated annually on November 20.

The research involved 400 family respondents of different nationalities and particularly focused on the play behaviour of their children from ages two to 12.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/leisure/six-out-of-10-uae-children-play-alone-study-1.1107668?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26261369

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Drugs in the Middle East

Problem all over the world lads including Middle East where its considered serious crime. Often punishable by death. As these 5 lads have just discovered in RAK, one of the Emirates of the UAE:

Ras Al Khaimah: The Criminal Court on Wednesday sentenced five people to death. They were involved in drug possession and drug trafficking.
The court session presided by Judge Bilal Abul Baqi passed the sentence on an Omani and four Pakistanis after they confessed to drug trafficking through the Oman-Ras Al Khaimah border. A senior court official said they will be executed by firing squad. The official added the Omani was searching for a buyer for one kilogram of opium and another kilogram of hashish when the RAK Anti-Narcotics Dep-artment received a tip-off and sent an undercover agent to do the deal with him.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/five-drug-traffickers-to-face-firing-squad-in-rak-1.581202

And of course, most parents worry as they do in the West, about their kids coming into contact with drugs and getting sucked into the scene:

http://gulfnews.com/about-gulf-news/al-nisr-portfolio/xpress/how-uae-schoolkids-get-their-dope-1.1108435

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Middle East Kids – Parents Worry

Had interesting chat with Arab Muslim friend during the week about the worries that parents out here have as they try their best to rear their kids. Surprisingly, he told me he considered it more difficult to bring up a son than a daughter. Told me most ordinary Muslim parents worry about their sons falling under influence of the more extremist Muslim practitioners. This man knows of many families where the son comes home one day and announces his new found beliefs and starts trying to convert all the family to a more extreme brand of the religion. Starts to grow a beard, starts to fight regularly with his parents, pointing out all their ‘haram’ behaviour as he sees it. For my friend this is a bigger fear for him than his 13 year old son getting involved in the drug scene. Can not remember ever hearing of any Western kid screaming at his parents to go to Mass on Sunday lads. Let me know if you have.

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Chelsea

Fans are going crazy. Crosser JB amongst them. Took one of his recent day postings from Fb for you all lads. Armageddon approacheth, according to many.

http://www.ftbpro.com/posts/ian.stewart.palmer/76248/roman-abramovich-makes-biggest-mistake-of-career-by-hiring-rafa-benitez

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DH

Desert safari pic from Sharjah. Idea if you ever come for holiday break. DH landed herself in hot water this week with the Sharjah forces of law & order

DH was busted in Sharjah, UAE this week lads. Read on:

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/busted-in-sharjah/

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Salam Lads

Ok lads. That’s it for another week. TC.

Ajman Fishmarket, UAE

MB

Apocalyptic


Morning Lads

Hope all smiling.

MB finds himself in Jedah, Saudi Arabia, as he writes to you this fine sunny Saudi morning, having flown over (or very close to) the holy city of Mecca yesterday on the flight from Riyadh. The chief air hostess/steward made some special announcements on account of our route and asked Allah to accept all our good deeds. Of which there are many. MB felt the power as we flew over ground zero and passed onwards in direction of Jeddah. Another one to tick off from the bucket list lads. Allah u Akbar.

Great reaction to the new blog format lads. Interesting to see, as I can on the stats section, in what country people are reading it, as a map of the world opens up and gives me a head count country by country, day by day. Something to log on to lads to give me break from Fb!

Some pics from Jeddah Old Town:

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Lots of Mosques. The Call To Prayer is deafening!

Image

Many of the buildings are dilapidated but with people living inside. Some buildings starting to undergo refurbishment

Image

Typical Old Town street scene

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Locals play dominoes on carpet on the street

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Carpet sellers abound, along with fabric sellers/tailors who make Arab dresses. And lots of barbers. Young lad says “Howya” to MB.

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Syria

Sitting with Syrian friend as I write, who is on his Facebook page chatting to friends back in Damascus. They are reporting huge explosions around the city as they chat with him. God help the helpless people. Myself and my pal are drinking coffee in Jeddah while innocents get blown to bits in Damascus and we get live commentary, more or less, while we sip the ‘Americanos with milk on the side’. Some world. Some crack.

My pal just stated that one of the lads in Damascus has just described the noise as like ‘Apocalypse Now‘ as the bombardment is so intense and deafening. That guy is in a house close to the Presidential area. But he has no clue where exactly the explosions are happening.

Getting worse by the day with tens of thousands fleeing to country to wherever they can. Whole towns and villages now disappeared into piles of rubble with  more than 40,000 people killed. Estimated presently that there are more than 700,000 houses destroyed, and the count rises each day. The Israeli army reported yesterday that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) now control almost all border crossings along the 800km border. So can not be long now one would think before the end comes. All my Syrian pals tell me that if they had-anti aircraft missiles the whole war would end very quickly as the planes are the Governments main weapon against the people. And presently the FSA has no solution to the plane problem.

The Brits are on the ground it seems, as the following report from Al Arabiya tells us:

As British Prime Minister David Cameron prepares to use the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Syria to put an end to the massacres the Syrian regime is committing throughout the country, British Special Forces are training rebels to assassinate the Syrian president and his commanders, the London Daily Star reported.

UK government sources told the newspaper that British assassination squads are in Syria to train rebels on how to target President Bashar al-Assad and his warlords. Some troops hailing from Britain Special Air Service (SAS), Special Boat Section (SBS) and the Airborne Infantry of the British Army (Paras) are also in the country to teach Anti-Assad fighters techniques on the accurate use of weapons and explosives against Assad regime forces, the sources said.

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/11/12/249245.html

Also lots of theories amongst Syrians that the present situation is engineered by USA/Brits/Israelis. Don’t agree with any of them. But the provision of the anti-aircraft missiles is a decision that the US could make to bring matters to a conclusion it would appear. Its not exactly clear why they do not provide. Possibly afraid of the missiles future use elsewhere when the present troubles pass. Meanwhile the civilian population are cannon fodder.

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HX Holiday Suggestion
MB would like to give you a holiday suggestion lads. Especially if you like clicking your camera or would like to learn more about your camera so you could become mega shooter like MB and other legends in da game. Take one week break in Dubai in March. Beautiful blue skies assured every day as you tour the fab sites on offer and get in a few Photo Workshops at Gulf Photo Plus (GPP). Having taken part in that event in last few years I can give it a very high recommendation. Workshops for all levels from complete beginners to lads who think the know lots like MB (but really know diddly squat!).

What is GPP2013?

GPP2013 will take place from March 1 – 8 and promises to be another amazing photo-fest. We’re bringing the world’s best photographers and instructors to Dubai to share their knowledge and experience with the Middle East and Africa’s professional and amateur photography community.

Save the date, book your leave and start finding creative ways to convince your partner and/or boss to get out to Dubai or take the week off for a fun and inspirational photography festival like no other!

To get a taste of what it’s all about, check out last year’s schedule here.

http://www.gulfphotoplus.com/gpp/2013?pk_campaign=GPP2012_ESHOT_NOV_13_PRE&pk_kwd=ESHOT

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Go to GPP lads and you may be able to take serious shots like this beauty from legendary shooter MB
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Breaking the sex laws

Was bit surprised during the week lads to read that there is proposal in UAE not to deport dastardly criminals who get jail sentences for having sex outside marriage and such like. In the past these (normally Western) no-gooders would get deportation back to their home countries at end of jail term where they would be free to continue their Godless ways. Not sure why this new relaxation is being proposed lads but as we all know when you give a sinner an inch he will usually try to take a mile. It becomes harder and harder each day lads for the good citizens of the Middle East to promote virtue and prevent vice, when the rulers are now starting to relax the reasonable rules of the past. No good can come of it lads. You will see more and more Tracy’s from Tyneside walking around our Shopping Malls dressed like harlots displaying flesh that is strictly speaking ‘haram’ and their will be more and more breaches of ‘honour’ and general behaviour that gives the middle finger to ‘modesty’.

Remember where you heard it first lads.

Suggested law change (what a joke):
“The most important recommendation is to make the deportation order optional and not compulsory anymore in crimes related to sex and honour, such as consensual sex, public indecency, breach of modesty and honour, and others. However, deportation remains compulsory in major crimes such as rape and molestation.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/make-deportation-optional-in-sex-crimes-1.1103947?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=&utm_term=%26260501

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UAE Nuclear Power Plant
The Americans have absolutely no problem with Arab countries having state of the art Nuclear Industries lads. As long as they buy all the high tech gadgets from the good old US of A. The mega stupid Iranians tried to do this without sticking to the rules and are paying the high price, mashallah. The UAE will now plough on lads with a Nuclear generating plant from Disneyland with Micky & Mini Mouse logos all over the boundary walls. Allah u Akbar (again!)

http://www.zawya.com/story/US_technology_to_be_used_in_UAE_nuclear_plant-GN_13112012_141132/?lok=210034121113&&zawyaemailmarketing

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The Grand Mufti

Have you heard of the Grand Mufti lads? Well, he is main man who can make rulings about da Islam, and issue Fatwas and such like. Presently he is none too happy with Foreign Media Agents – and MB received query during week from Saudi Crosser if communicating with MB would be breach of the rule. Assured him/her not lads, as MB is at this stage part and parcel of the Saudi scene and in absolutely no way can MB be considered ‘foreign’. It is probably true to say that MB has become more Arabic than the Arabs themselves. Allah u Akbar (for the 3rd time today).

And chaos & strife is the last thing on MBs mind lads I assure you. Working in the construction industry each week gives me more chaos & strife than I can handle. Who wants more of that for God sake.

From the Grand Mufti himself lads:

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti has issued a religious edict prohibiting contact and cooperation with foreign media outlets seeking to “spread chaos and strife in Muslim lands.”

He urged people instead to address their concerns through writing directly to responsible authorities.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh told worshipers during a Friday sermon held in a mosque in the capital Riyadh that people should not contact foreign media outlets to “divulge the country’s secrets or address various matters” because these outlets “are only concerned with dividing people and striking the unity of the nation.”

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/11/11/248823.html

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Where a Mufti might hang out lads

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Saudi Crosser Contribution

Received some complimentary words from one of our Saudi Crossers last week lads saying how much he enjoys the Friday read. He has even gone one step further lads and put pen to paper for us to give us insight into da whole Saudi situation at present for da natives. His piece is quite long, as MB seems to have awakened a Saudi Shakespeare within. The piece is quite long and I may break it into 50% this week and same next (that’s another 50% next week Cla – to save you doing the calculation).

Anyway lads MB is very grateful for the contribution from XXX as I will refer to him/her as don’t want him/her falling foul of recent fatwas and such like and getting good whipping after da Friday prayers next week.

Dear Mike
You are so persuasive but you will have to tolerate my English then 🙂

OK today is Sunday and after drinking my daily dosage of coffee I decided to email you about what I feel personally about my country.  I really don’t know from where to start? There is a common perception among 90% of Saudis that we are waiting for something that 100% is going to happen but no one can tell you what is it exactingly!! Something related to the murky issue of succession particularly with the obvious aging of Saudi Royalty. Some Saudis say that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy dance on the tune of Western Kafers ….Mummmm.  I wasn’t plan to talk politically so you can ignore the previous paragraph :). If you are surprising that why we may not touch these simple issues try to stay in your fancy room for 6 months without knowing what is it all about let alone try our fancy Saudi jail.

Anyway, during my last visit to my SA I was so desperate when I saw the organization of disorganization. For example  the disrespect of traffic signals by careless drivers is a widespread practice in SA now a days without any response from police. Police inaction in cases of offense or minor crime, specially against non Saudi, like assaulting foreigner workers or house maids, is encouraging those bad guys to do more. If you survey the satisfaction levels of Saudis, you will be surprised that most of them will be not happy with the current situation. This shouldn’t be the case with a country that considered the world’s largest net oil exporter. I am not talking politically here but as Saudis living inside Saudi Arabia we are suffering from many difficulties.  The first of these is planning deficit- in particular we as a nation don’t think about our future . We just eat and enjoy the current pleasure without any thinking of how to keep our country going and improved, especially in the law and legislation. for example the gender segregation debate that still exist is a sign for a society that is stuck in the 19th century. We still heavily rely on expatriates? When you look at some specialist job areas the 99 per cent is dominated by expatriates. We are some time move backward for example I work in the health sector, where the equality is endangered and the right of any resident to gain a free health access has disappeared. not to mention the famous case of Hamza Kashgari who faces charge of blasphemy after two or three tweets about prophet Mohammad peace be upon him. It is like that the Saudi society hide behind being the original of Islam and the title of ‘Custodians of the Holy Mosques’ yet our actions and behaviour are far from Islamic. I feel that If it wasn’t for the fact that Saudi Arabia sit on a large part of the world’s oil our country would remain mired in the past whether we liked it or not.

The be continued………

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DH – The Reluctant Emigrant

Greetings to DH and ta for another issue of her Reluctant Emigrant Blog.

http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com/

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Ciao/Adios

TC lads. Have nice weekend. Be good.

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Da follically challenged MB composin more brilliance. Haha lads!

MB